Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Andrea Ostrov Letania: Neo-Fascist Consideration of YOJIMBO’s Opening Act (Directed by Akira Kurosawa) + Kenji Mizoguchi’s 47 RONIN. Part 2.

Sanjuro and Hansuke
The Would-be Battle
Loyal 47 Ronin by Kenji Mizoguchi


We were discussing YOJIMBO, so let’s move away from France and Britain, and let’s return to Kurosawa’s film and Japan. I believe we were saying something about the geographical factors that made the Japanese what they are. Geographical isolation is probably both conducive and subversive to tighter control by the elites. It’s conducive in the sense that all elites have a temptation to control their subjects as much as possible, and this is made easier in a closed system. In an open system, where the elites must constantly fight off foreign enemies, there’s less time to concentrate on creating the ‘perfect system’ at home. While it’s true that the rulers exert their powers most fully during wartime, there is something essentially destabilizing about war, and many things that would not be tolerated in peace time are allowed during wartime. This is especially true if war leads to desperation whereby the rulers may have to violate their own principles in order to maximize their fighting or survivalist potential. So, Stalin revived the Russian Church during WWII, and Hitler was willing to bend Nazi racial rules to recruit Eastern Europeans into the SS as the war dragged on in the Eastern Front. In SEVEN SAMURAI, we see how the battle against the bandits even dissolves some of the social barriers between samurai and peasants. And indeed it was during wartime that Hideyoshi, though born a farmer, inexplicably rose up the ranks and became the supreme ruler of Japan. And of course, there’s always the chance that the rulers might lose the war and thereby lose control of their society to the enemy, whereupon great social and political changes might soon follow. So, a community or nation that is geographically connected with others can paradoxically be controlled both more tightly and more loosely. The needs of war calls for more control, but the stresses of war often lead to social instability.
But a similar paradox or duality exists for geographically cocooned nations or communities. On the one hand, one could argue that rulers of an enclosed or isolated social order could afford to be more relaxed since they have less to worry about foreign threats. There would be less need to drum up the populace into a united and disciplined fighting force since the homeland happens to be relatively safe and protected by barriers — mountains, deserts, or oceans. On the other hand, the rulers, feeling safe, can devote more of their time and energies toward creating the ‘perfect system’ in which everything and everyone operates like clockwork. (Maybe that’s why the Swiss, protected from their neighbors by mountains, got so good at making clocks.) And in some ways, Old Japan — following Tokugawa consolidation — exhibited both facets. On the one hand, the Tokugawa rulers held all the cards and had the means to create and maintain exactly the kind of society that they believed to be most ideal, most orderly, most stable, most long-lasting, and most meaningful. Thus, under Tokugawa rule, Japan became quasi-totalitarian in a political sense, and a rigid conformism spread throughout society. Japan had been repressive during centuries of civil war, but the endless turmoil had also led to social upheavals, class mobility, interaction with foreigners bearing better weapons and technology, and etc. But once Japan came under tight Tokugawa rule, the new rulers developed a system through which they controlled just about every corner of the country. But on the other hand, without the aid of modern technology and without the fervor of modern mass ideology, Tokugawa rule wasn’t totalitarian. Local autonomy still existed to a large extent, and the Tokugawa rulers were more interested in keeping the masses in their place than controlling their hearts and minds as was the case in Soviet Union, Red China, Nazi Germany, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, North Korea, Communist Cuba, and etc. Thus, most stinking peasants, though without rights or freedom, were left alone to be stinking peasants as long as they didn’t rebel or make trouble. When we think of totalitarianism, we think of the state trying to remold the souls of everyone — like in 1984 by Orwell — , and Tokugawa Japan simply didn’t bother with that kind of control. If Tokugawa system was totalitarian, it was elite-totalitarian, i.e. Tokugawa rulers were mindful of absolute obedience and loyalty among clan chieftains across Japan. Given that most Japanese(mostly stinking peasants) had no power of any kind, Tokugawa rulers understood that as long as the local chieftains were loyal to the Shogun, then the rest of the population would be kept in their place. In contrast, once Japan began to modernize and give rise to mass consciousness/politics, it became imperative for the rulers of modern Japan to develop the means to control the hearts and minds of all Japanese. (Of course, even in modern democratic societies, few people have real power. Why is it that AIPAC bothers only with elite students while ignoring everyone else? It’s because Jews understand that real power is held by the relative few at the upper reaches of society: “I’ll never forget when I was involved in Israeli advocacy in college and being at one of the many AIPAC conventions. A man literally stood in front of us and told us that their whole goal was to only work with top-50 school graduate students because they would eventually be the people making changes in the government.” Most people either just follow as they are easily swayed by mass education, mass media, and mass entertainment controlled by the few at top. Needless to say, ‘mass culture’ isn’t made by masses, owned by the masses, controlled by the masses, or representative of the masses. ‘Mass culture’ doesn’t mean culture of the masses but culture imposed on the masses by the elites; it should really be called ‘mass control’ or ‘mass cultrol’. ‘Mass culture’ no more belongs to the masses than the so-called ‘mainstream media’ belongs to the mainstream masses; it is really a Jew-controlled-and-owned media machine to control and manipulate the mainstream. Mass culture and Mainstream media are trickle-down culture and trickle-down news. While elites who control such institutions may draw inspiration from the lower orders — such as Rock n Rollers and movie makers/stars of humble origin — , all such are appropriated by Jewish elites to serve Jewish agendas and interests. Besides, if a nobody wants to make it as somebody in the media, academia, or entertainment industry, he or she has to conform to the rules laid down by elite controllers. When even a seasoned veteran journalist like Pat Buchanan has been blacklisted from the mainstream media, the message to all
would-be journalists is “If you don’t submit to political correctness, you have no chance making it in Mass Culture or Mainstream Media.” America may be 50% liberal and 50% conservative, but for all purposes, it is 95% Zio-Globalist since most of the elite institutions are controlled by Jews, liberals, and gays. Since no one can run and win in American politics without the backing of big money and big media, everyone who matters or wants to matter must cater to the wishes and agendas of those at the top. If you want to be hired by a university, you have to be globo-liberal. If you wanna work in big media or Hollywood, you have to be globo-liberal. Or, if you insist on being conservative, it must be purely on economic issues. And even if you are culturally conservative, you must constantly prove that you’re not ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, ‘homophobic’, and ‘antisemitic’ — and mindlessly wave the Israeli flag and weep thinking about MLK. You must spout all the politically correct cliches like a robot without ever thinking about what you’re saying. Notice how most modern conservatives battle the Left by using leftist moral terminology and logic. So, conservatives will try to prove that liberals are the ‘real racists’, ‘real sexists’, ‘real anti-Semites’, and etc. without asking the more fundamental question, “What is ‘racism’, ‘sexism’, and ‘homophobia’, and who came up with such terms and who supplied the definitions and why?” Since most conservatives are dummies and/or cowards and take their cues from Republican elites — and since Republican elites are now little more than puppets of Neocon Zionists — , there is no effective conservative counter-force against the forces of liberalism. But then, what happened to Liberalism? It used to be for the workers and less fortunate. Now, it’s about ‘gay marriage’, lending moral support to Pussy Riot, suppling privileged women like Sandra Fluke with free contraceptives — and if you disagree with such policies, remember you’re waging a ‘war on women’ — , and promoting rap music and interracist porn. With notions like ‘war on women’, it’s hilarious that the very liberals who pontificate about the ‘Red Scare hysteria’ of the 50s are the truly hysterical and paranoid lunatics. According to modern liberals, someone like Paul Ryan is a greater evil and threat to humanity than the communist-sympathizing Jews of the 40s and 50s who spied for the Soviet Union and supplied Stalin, the mass-killer of millions, with the formula for the Atomic Bomb, the most carefully guarded secret in the United States. According to liberals, businesses that don’t believe in ‘gay marriage’ should be blacklisted and hounded, but Jews and leftists who praised the mass murderer and enslaver Stalin in the 40s and 50s are to be remembered as saints while patriots who smoked them out for espionage and subversion are to be vilified forever. This is what the liberal Jewish order has provided for you in the New or Jew America of their making. In this America, Obama is just a toyboy of the likes of Elena Kagan, and Romney is just a puppet of the likes of Sheldon Adelson.
(One reason why Jews have so much control over us is their understanding of the psychology of history. There is history as an academic discipline committed to the search for facts to revise or challenge conventional narratives, distortions, and myths. But for most people, history is a grand sacred narrative winding around certain totemic signifiers. Same is true of personal lives. Life is not accumulation of details of existence. Life is not ‘egalitarian’ or ‘democratic’ in its application of memory, i.e. we don’t remember or treat all details/moments/events of our lives as being of equal value. We filter out 99% of what happens and cling to only 1%, and we keep returning to that special totemic bits and pieces again and again. Our lives seem wound — even endlessly revolving — around those cenotaphs. So, if something special — happy, wonderful, sad, tragic, or whatever — happened ten yrs ago, it may still matter more than what happened a year ago, a week ago, a day ago. There aren’t many moments like those in our lives, and this is one reason why they are precious, even if they happen to be dark and tragic. Because memorable moments in our lives often happen to be tragic/traumatic, we often fear them and try to avoid them — even happy moments like marriage can be very stressful; we want to play it safe and avoid ‘trouble’. But a safe life is a dull life, with everything seeming the same day after day; and so, even traumatic memories could be preserved and guarded for their preciousness. Why does the woman cling to the memory of her dead German lover in HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR? Why does the Welles character in LADY FROM SHANGHAI say he’ll never forget the woman who’d turned his life upside down? And this is true of cinema itself. We’ve all seen lots of movies, but only a relatively handful stay in our minds and have personal meaning for us. One reason why VERTIGO toppled CITIZEN KANE in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll is it offers more of a ‘cult film’ experience. Welles’s film is amazing but not something to be emotionally obsessed over. VERTIGO, on the other hand, holds up the mirror of obsession before the audience, and its own obsession is reflected off the obsession of the audience. VERTIGO may not stay long as #1 on Sight & Sight Poll because part of its allure was its secretiveness, its underdog-ness, its slowness to be appreciated by critics — as if many of them were too embarrassed to admit having fallen into its dark spiral. So, it was one of those ‘disreputable’ great films, and that element of sordidness made it all the more seductive and powerful; but now that it’s been canonized as the ‘best’, its dark allure as the great shadow lurking around the edges of film culture may be lost. Should one put the spotlight on a shadow? It’s like electing a spy to public office. Anyway, because of the increasing understanding of psychology, modern storytellers developed a neurosis about telling stories. Traditionally, storytelling went from A to Z, creating the impression that a story has a beginning, middle, and end. When we take a step back and look at the big picture of any life, we may indeed discern a beginning, middle, and end. For example, a story of an athlete might begin with his humble origins, continue on with the ardor of his training, intensify with the trial of the competition, and finally culminate in his triumph or tragedy — but, this is all with the benefit of hindsight that makes it as seem as the story was preordained by fate when, in fact, life is often uncertain as it is lived(like when Sanjuro tosses the stick in the air to ‘gamble’ which way he should go; had the stick pointed in the other direction, everything that happened in the movie would not have happened. The evil town would have remained as it is, and Sanjuro would have gone to another town; on the other hand, maybe the point of YOJIMBO is all ‘towns’ are really alike, and therefore, Sanjuro would have done much the same thing.) And in the stories of heroes in ancient myths and legends, the quest or adventure makes for a linear storytelling. Since the hero has to go from point A to point Z to fulfill his destiny, the narrative is essentially a connect-the-dots game of threading a linear storyline. But even amongst the ancients, there were inklings that stories weren’t always so simple, and this is evident in the ODYSSEY where the linear storyline is interrupted repeatedly. What Odysseus wants is the simplest way to go home; he wants a straight-line journey from Troy to his Ithaca. But Odysseus’ attempt to sail straight is undermined over and over in an almost accidental and random way — so different from the one-after-another stages of labors of Heracles. At one point, his ship comes very close to home but a wind out of a magic bag takes him way out to sea again. Odysseus should have made it back home in a year but it takes him ten years. But the interruptions aren’t only physical but psychological. On some island, his memory becomes messed up and he becomes obsessed with a sorceress, and for many years, there is no progression in the story as he remains on the island. At other times, though he’s caught up in a great adventure, all he can think about is home, and so he seems disconnected from the events around him; he’s also disconnected when he hears the song of the Sirens — disconnected from his men whose ears are plugged and thereby can’t hear the song, disconnected in mind and desire for he knows the Sirens are dangerous but his senses surrender to them, and disconnected in will and body for he desperately wants to go with the Sirens but his body is tied to the mast. Thus, there is no easy sync between the physicality of events and psychology of desire in Odysseus. Also, Odysseus is caught in a kind of psychological limbo between wanting to go home and not wanting to go home. Consciously, he wants to be back with wife and son. After 10 yrs of the Trojan War, he wants comfort and peace. Yet, what does home and hearth signify? Domesticity and boredom. In Troy, he fought as the king of Ithaca, but in Ithaca, he would be just a goat-herding king. So, there’s a psychological ambivalence throughout. Many of the obstacles to his return could be metaphors of his own buried desire not to return home, or at least not too quickly. Odysseus is glad the war is over, but the war was also what made him feel alive and feel like a man; the war was what made him use his wit and brilliance to win glory for Greece. His relation with Athena is especially interesting in this regard, not least because the idea of a female god is, in some ways, more interesting than the idea of the male god. Males of most species define and exercise their power in physical terms. So, it seems natural that male gods are big and powerful. Zeus is a big god with thunderbolts. Poseidon has his trident. Apollo has his sun chariot, and Ares has his tough armor. Since men are supposed to be tough, the idea of the tough male god is hardly surprising. But the concept of the female god comes with a contradiction. In society, men are stronger and more powerful than women. Among most species, males dominate females. That is the way of nature, the way of humankind. Even in modern society where women have won equality under the law, men are bigger and stronger — and women are drawn to men for their masculinity. So, the female god or goddess is a contradiction. As a member of the gods, she is stronger than the male heroes she aids or opposes. And yet, as a female, she represents the sex that is weaker to the male. This may explain the strange relationship between Athena and Odysseus. She, as a deity, is more powerful than Odysseus, yet as a female, she has tender feelings for the male hero. (To be sure, one could argue that Helen is the most powerful woman of the ancient world — even more than the goddesses — , paradoxically because she is so powerless. As an object to be possessed, she is always owned by men, but in the men’s desire to own her, men are willing to wage war and destruction for ten long years. Her beauty is also both powerful and powerless. Powerful in motivating men to fight for her, but also powerless in being the object of desire of men; she isn’t allowed to have a will of her own. To the extent that she may have FREELY gone with Paris, one of the themes of the ILIAD is beauty and freedom. Should beauty be free or should it be owned. Should Greek men own Greek beauty, or should Greek beauty have a mind of its own and go with other ‘races’. Some might say Helen was more seduced/abducted by Paris than went freely of her own accord. In a way, the Greek gods and goddesses in the ILIAD act like the global elites. In their vanity, the three goddesses are willing to do anything to win the prize of the golden apple. Athena promises Paris to lay waste to all of Greece and hand it to him if he were to give her the apple. Aphrodite offers him, a Trojan, the greatest Greek beauty — also the most beautiful woman in the world — if she were to be given the apple. Though Greek deities, they have no special allegiance to Greece; besides, Trojans seem to worship much the same gods as they too have temples to Apollo and Athena. And then, maybe it wasn’t so unjust when the Greeks later turned to another God and His Son Jesus.) On some level, it’s as though she wants to serve him even as she lords over him. And this is especially interesting since Odysseus is not your usual hero or man of action. His power derives as much from wit and cunning as from muscle and courage — same could be said for Theseus. For this reason, male gods may not care too much for him. Male gods, big and strong, prefer big and strong heroes like Heracles and Perseus. Now, all Greek heroes rely on wit and smarts to some level, but Odysseus took it to a whole new level. Sometimes, he was too clever for his own good — even succumbing to the vain hubris of being too smart. So, after he finds a way to escape the clutches of Cyclops, he just can’t keep his mouth shut and has to shout out to Cyclops about how smarter he is than the blinded one-eyed giant. And earlier, though Odysseus finally brought about the downfall of Troy with the use of the decoy horse, it was a very ignoble way for the Greeks to win the war. This reliance on wit and cunning may be something Athena understands because women(at least the smart ones), being weaker than men, have to use guile, cleverness, manipulation, and deception to get what they want.

Anyway, we were saying the modern or modernist storyteller, having become more mindful of psychology, became suspicious of conventional linear storytelling. In their effort to convey life more truthfully, many eschewed conventional storytelling with its clear plot developments. Thus, neo-realism went into the streets and conveyed a sense of life as daily struggle for existence. Charles Dickens wrote many stories about poverty, but the main focus was on lively characters and engaging storytelling than on the dreary struggle for life, i.e. characters and plots serve as escapism from life as daily grind. Anyway, neo-realism, in its social fixation, tended to overlook the psychological nature of reality. Another way of creating new narrative or counter-narrative was to undermine well-established narrative expectations, as was the case with Antonioni’s L’AVVENTURA. It begins sort of like a ‘missing person’ story, but the film loses interest in the search and delves into how the ebb-and-flow of emotions with each passing day alters the meaning of life. Conventional storytelling fixates on one or two main conflicts and carries them to their conclusion, but in Antonioni’s film, the narrative conflict of the ‘missing woman’ fades and the story comes to fixate on a romance developing between the lover of the missing woman and her friend, and then, that dissolves too. Yet, formalist works such as those of Antonioni generally failed to — or was unwilling to — penetrate the psychology of the characters. The psychological way of storytelling or story-not-telling was realized most fully with the works of Alain Resnais, Chris Marker, Fellini’s 8 ½ , and Bergman’s PERSONA, not least because they dwelt so heavily on the role of memory in life. LA JETEE is interesting in this regard. Almost as soon as the film begins, the world has been destroyed by WWIII, and mankind survives in underground tunnels like rats. So, much has happened to mankind and to the main character, but most of the film is about the main character’s fixation with the images of his childhood and to an imagined romance built around those images. LA JETEE, like MEMENTO by Chris Nolan, suggests mental circularity despite life’s linear flow. It’s like a man can walk from point A to point B, but his mind could be re-running the same memories over and over. And what would these memories be? They are the unique core collection of memories with sacred value to each individual. It’s like each of the characters in AMELIE has his or her own private lost paradise in their dreams and memories. It’s like we listen to 1000s of songs, but we keep returning to a handful with special meaning for us. The problem of conventional storytelling is it overlooks our tendency to prefer and stick to the same tunes. So, psychologically at least, life is more like a merry-go-around revolving around the same thing than a game of connect-the-dots. Paradoxically, that may be why we prefer conventional linear storytelling. Our lives seem stuck in their circles around the same totems that we want stories that break out of the psychological circle and lunge ahead from A to Z, from uncertain beginning to clear ending, like a running back going from one end of the field to the other. Though I haven’t read James Joyce’s ULYSSES — I did see the movie but it didn’t make much sense — , what I heard of it conveys a certain psychological truth. Its long epic structure takes place over a short period of time and, as such, may seem absurd. But, long stretches of time can meaning nothing to us whereas a single day can mean everything. A day — or even a moment in life — can be epic whereas an entire decade can pass by and be forgotten as humdrum. Same goes for history. A short period can seem like it changed everything while long stretches of history can seem dead, as if nothing of any significance took place. When we think of the Greeks, we focus on the few centuries before the rise of Rome while the rest of Greek history seems mostly static and uninteresting. So, our remembrance of time is not ‘egalitarian’; a single year at some point in history can mean a great deal more than entire decades or even centuries or millennia. Consider the significance of 1848 and 1968. THE GRADUATE understood this about personal life. Benjamin Braddock has finished college and thinks his life-of-meaning is over. He has a whole life ahead of him with good job and good pay, but it’s all gonna be a long flat plateau. It’s all gonna be plastics, settling down, becoming like his parents, and growing old. This is why Mrs. Robinson and then her daughter Elaine become important to him. They bring ‘difference’ to his life. But eventually, he grows weary of Mrs. Robinson as all they do is go through the same motions of meeting at the hotel. And then, his obsession turns to Elaine, and he feels alive again, but after he triumphs and runs off with her, he’s back to square one. But, nothing for the rest of his life will be as memorable and important to him as the summer in which he graduated, had an affair with Mrs. Robinson, and then went mad over Elaine and went to hell and back to win her. Though based on a romantic comedy novel, Mike Nichols channeled Kafka — especially through Welles’s THE TRIAL whose performance by Anthony Perkins may have inspired some of Dustin Hoffman’s mannerisms and fears as Braddowicz — , and so THE GRADAUTE has an element of strangeness and disorientation — at times approaching morbidity — lacking in the novel. Anyway, if we have control of what to memorialize, mythologize, and hold sacred in our personal lives, what gets to be remembered, sanctified, and blessed in terms of historical memory is determined by elites who control the media and academia. In the West, Jews control the media and academia, and so they control what goes down the memory hole and what remains preserved in the museum of memory. They determine what isn’t worthy of remembrance and what is worthy of obsessive worship. So, the Knoxville Massacre and countless other horrendous acts of black-on-white violence might as well not even have happened whereas we never stop hearing of Emmitt Till, Emitt Till, Emitt Till, some punkass kid who called out to a white woman like she was a whore. The Holocaust has become a religion while few Americans even know of the mass killing of Ukrainians by Stalin and his Jewish henchmen. Now, all regimes play this game of politicizing historical memory, but in the West, it is the Jews who have this power over us. Incidentally, Jewish control of political memory also has an effect on our personal memory. Since political memory tells us that Negroes and Jews are wonderful and noble whereas whites are ‘evil and racist’, a white person who is victimized by a Jew or a Negro may suppress his or her memory of the incident since such memory shamefully violates the holy collective memory that says Jews are all saints and Negroes are magical souls. So, if a white woman is raped by a Negro thug, instead of remembering the attack as ‘the time when some disgusting nigger raped me’, she’s likely to either repress it by flushing it down her memory hole or ‘resolve’ it by saying she deserved to be attacked because the holy historical memory tells us that whites deserve to be punished for their ‘historical crimes’. Political memory makes us proud or shameful of certain things. So, if political memory tells us that it’s shameful to see Negroes as jigger-jiving thugs and a**holes, people who personally suffer from Negro mayhem may try their best to pretend they didn’t experience what they experienced. Thus, Jews not only get to censor political memory but even personal memory. Jews understand psychology and are aiming to psycholocaust the white race. Because Jews understand psychology, they’ve both Judaized and Catholized the Holocaust, and both means have a way of ‘sacralizing’ the Holocaust in our psyche. According to Judaic reading of psychology, sacred things should not be turned into idols. This is what Claude Lanzmann’s SHOAH plays on. It’s as though the Holocaust such a spiritually tragic event that it shouldn’t be represented as or turned into ‘false images’, whether they be newsreel footage or fiction movies. No, the Holocaust must only be remembered and thought about, which is why SHOAH doesn’t use newsreel footage or fictional dramatization of events. Similarly, ancient Jews were loathe to create idols of God or represent Godliness through art. If the Holocaust is to have this godlike aura about it, there must a sense that nothing made by man can approach or represent its horribly holy truth of Jewish suffering. Filming or re-enacting the Holocaust and showing it as the Real Thing would be like making false idols of something that is too great for the eyes and hands of man. Thus, people should remember the Holocaust and worship the memory of the Holocaust through words. It’s okay to film people remembering the Holocaust but the thing itself cannot be filmed — and even actual footage of the real thing cannot be the real thing since the real thing was so horrible that its truth could not be recorded by the man-made camera even when the camera was staring right at it; it would be like fooling oneself that one could take pictures of God by taking snapshots of the sky. Holocaust, like God, cannot be approached straight on because it is too just great. But while SHOAH may appeal to the intellectual tribe of elite academicians — just like Judaism appealed only to a small nomadic tribe — , such a purely abstract approach can win over only so many people. While intellectuals may praise SHOAH as one of the all-time great movies, most people are gonna fall asleep. So, there is the Catholicized psychologization of the Holocaust through history represented through the pageantry and ritualism of movies, children’s books, plays, and etc. Catholicism adopted pagan ritualism and expressiveness to spread Faith in Christ — not least because the crass rich and the illiterate peasants were easier to win over with colorful images, songs, and fun stuff — , and today, Jews employ a pagano-Catholicized version of Holocaust for the dumb masses who think SCHINDLER’S LIST, aka The Passion of the Jew, is the greatest movie of all time.)

Though Jews and Japanese are different in most ways, many Jews have shown special interest in Japan, leaving us to speculate as to why. Partly, it’s because Jews tend to be intellectual, scholarly, and fascinated with power; and since Japan has been one of the major players in the world in the 20th century, a bunch of Jews have decided to study its rise. Given Jewish over-representation in historical, political, and intellectual departments, there are whole bunch of Jews interested in the Muslim world, China, Russia, Europe, Latin America, and etc. Even so, a number of Jews have shown SPECIAL interest in Japan — not only among nations of Asia but around the world. Think of Ian Buruma’s great fascination with Japan, even as he bashes it most of the time. And John Nathan, the first Western biographer of Mishima, is Jewish. Michael Auslin, the neocon Zionist, also specialized in Japanese studies. And there were as many Jewish Japanhandlers as Jewish Japan bashers in the 80s and early 90s. (I suspect that pro-Japanese Jews and anti-Japanese Jews have been, wink wink, working in tandem, just like liberal Jews and conservative Jews, though pretending to take different sides, often work for the common goal of Jewish supremacism behind the curtains. Jews keenly observed Japan’s rise as a major economic player in the postwar world, and it was also useful to have the Japanese feel warm toward Jews. Jews could also use Japan’s rise against Wasp American power. But in the 1980s, Jews also felt threatened by the rise of the mono-racial neo-nationalist Japan as possibly the one globally dominant player that might challenge global Jewish power in finance, science and technology, and international trade. And Jews found it convenient to use ‘yellow peril’ to divert American gentile rage away from the Jews who were gaining elite control over America. So, one bunch of Jews would defend Japan while another bunch of Jews would be making a movie like RISING SUN. Jews were playing the game of Jewjimbo. This is a common tactic of Jews as the Jew is essentially a two-faced character. It’s like how the Marx Brothers play both on-your-side and against-your-side when, in fact, they are conspiring behind the scenes to undermine your power and drive you crazy. Take the lemonade scene in DUCK SOUP. Chico pretends to side with the lemonade seller against Harpo, but both are really trying to drive the big dumb goy up the wall. Jews handle the GOP that way.

Or notice how the Marx Brothers join the war on the side of Freedonia while doing everything to muck things up for both sides. Jews also play the game of turning yellows against whites and turning whites against yellows. In colleges, Jewish professors tell Asian students that white Americans are ‘racist’ and ‘privileged’, deserving of hatred and hostility; but Hollywood and mass media tells white Americans, ‘the chinks are coming, the chinks are coming’. In other words, turn well-educated yellow Americans into Jewish-controlled enemies of ‘white power’ while, at the same time, turning white Americans into enemies of ‘yellow peril’. Asians are often thought of as drones, but they make excellent intellectual drones with which Jews attack White America. If aerial drones bomb Pakistan and Yemen, yellow drones are programmed by Jews to drop bombs on white America. Jews know that Asians lack chutzpah. If the rising Jewish elites had the balls to stand up to the Wasp elites in the 50s and 60s, the rising yellow elites today only know how to suck up to the dominant elite, which happens to be Jewish. Now we know why Jews were the real winners of the Cold War. While stupid white Americans and stupid white Russians were hating and fighting one another, Jews were playing Jerry Springer with both the international ‘right’ and the international ‘left’. It’s wrong to think of ‘Jewish rightists vs Jewish leftists.’ Jew is, above all, a Jew, and so a Jew adopts rightism or leftism on the basis of what is most useful to Jews at any given moment. Also, Jewish leftists and Jewish rightists don’t really hate one another as gentile leftists and gentile rightists do. If gentiles are dumb enough to totally commit themselves to an ideology, Jews use ideologies merely as tools, and this is why so many Jewish leftists and Jewish rightists have really collaborated behind the scenes to create a Jew-dominated world order. Jewish liberals may pretend to hate Henry Kissinger, but they are all really on the same page: playing Jerry Springer with international politics to increase Jewish advantage as much as possible. It’s like so-called ‘rightist’ AIPAC and ‘leftist’ J-STREET are really working for the same interests. Jewish leftists and Jewish rightists are like the poker players in the scene in David Mamet’s HOUSE OF GAMES. They pretend to hate one another, but they are only pulling a shtick to fool a goyess out of her money. This is why the more white conservatives approach Jews with good faith, the more Jews despise them. Jews understand power and know history is a game of power. Even morality is a weapon of power, not something of value in and of itself. In a way, Jews were alarmed by Nietzsche — Freud said he didn’t like to read Nietzsche because Nietzsche had already figured it out — because Nietzsche unlocked the true nature of power, the implication being he unlocked the true nature of Jewish power as well. Perhaps Nietzsche himself didn’t fully appreciate what he’d discovered. He said “God is dead”, but he really should have said “God is power”. Though Nietzsche condemned Christian morality as ‘slave morality’, what he’d actually stumbled upon — and what Marx would emphasize — was that the Christian God was the ultimate manipulator of power, not the favorer of slaves over masters. So, God wasn’t dead. Only His mask was dead, and the true face of God behind the moral mask was power. Jews were alarmed by Nietzsche’s findings because a goy had figured out the true nature of the Jews themselves. Jews, supposedly the most moralistic and spiritual people on Earth, were really motivated by power. And the Christian God never really served the masses. There was no slave revolt in Christian history. Christianity had been a opiate of the masses controlled by the elites as Marx said. It really favored the powerful and cunning over the dumb and the dim. Jews secretly knew this of their God. For all their moralism, power came first for the Jews, and this nihilism was revealed to Job when God told Job that He plays by His own rules. Jews feel toward us as God felt toward Job. They feel they can do as they please since they are the Overmen over us. Israel can have 300 illegal nukes while Iran has none, but Jews are to be obeyed, admired, and worshiped by the most powerful nation on Earth, the United States. In a way, though Nietzsche seemed to direct Western Man towards neo-paganism, he was also — even if unwittingly — telling Western Man to become more like the Jew for the Jews were more keen and honest about the nature of God and Power. Christians had a rather simple idea that God is love-and-forgiveness instead of seeing such virtues as the mere tools of God when they suited His purposes. Zarathustra of Nietzsche is, in a way, the Jew Unplugged. It is the Jew without the mask and garb of morality speaking the truth of his powerlust and designs for the world. It’s the real Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This is why Jews were nervous about Nietzsche and finally decided to reinterpret him to turn him into an icon of the Left.)
David Goodman, another liberal Zionist Jew, wrote an interesting — as well as typically Jewish-bullshit — book called JEWS IN THE JAPANESE MIND. And I think Buruma, Auslin, and Goodman are all married to Japanese women. And Nathan used to be married to one. Amusingly, while Jews fume whenever other peoples generalize about Jews — at least in a critical way — , most of these Jewish scholars or observers of Japan(or other cultures) have no qualms about making generalized conclusions and judgments about other peoples. So, it would be ‘antisemitic’ to speak of the ‘Jewish mind’, ‘Jewish mentality’, ‘Jewish tendencies’, ‘Jewish prejudices’, and so on, but Jews have no problem pontificating about the Japanese mind, Russian mind, Arab mind, Muslim mind, or the ‘paranoid style’ of white Christian conservative mind. We cannot judge Jews as an aggregate, but Jews generalize about everyone else in that manner. We can’t say that Jewish attitudes today are informed by thousands of years of Jewish tribalism, but Jews can say that Russians are freedom-hating dummies because of centuries of authoritarianism or that the Chinese are arrogant a**holes due to their ‘Middle Kingdom mentality’. Jews can say Arabs are like the new Nazis, but it would be ‘antisemitic’ to compare Zionist policies with those of National Socialism. So, Hussein was like Hitler, but Jews who committed ‘ethnic cleansing’ against Palestinians are just a bunch of ‘liberal democrats’.

Anyway, why would some Jews feel a certain affinity for Japan? Could it be geographical? Japan is a small island nation facing a huge Asian landmass, just like Israel is a small land mass faced with huge Arab/Muslim territories. Japanese have felt both a part of and apart from Asia. In some ways, Japan has even seen itself as a ‘honorary Western nation’. Similarly, Israel sees itself as both a part of and apart from the Middle East. In a way, Israel was about Jews returning to their Semitic roots. But in another way, Israel has been called a Western democratic outpost in the Middle East dominated by Medievalist ‘Muzzies’. Throughout history, Japanese and Jews have also been a people who adopted so many ideas from others and brilliantly adapted them to their own ends. Japanese didn’t come up with Confucianism, Buddhism, and a whole bunch of stuff, but the Japanese transformed them into something uniquely Japanese and distinct in their own right. Similarly, Jews have taken elements of Russian, German, English, American, and etc culture and made it their own. And even though Jews invented their own religion, many scholars say that the inspirations were drawn heavily from other cultures and religions.
Both Japan and Israel are defined by a certain concept of geographical divinity. Russians might see Russia as their sacred motherland and Chinese may see China as their homeland, but neither Russians and Chinese believe that their land is literally holy. But Jews believed that God gave them the Promised Land; thus, the land is literally Holy. Similarly, Japanese mythology said the island nation was truly sacred, made from the broken fragments of some divine spear. And Shintoism preserved the notion that Japan is alive and one with nature spirits. So, Japan too was holy, which is why Japanese put up such a desperate fight in WWII. They weren’t worried simply about losing the war but horrified at the prospect of their holy land being desecrated by foreign invaders. And this is why the Americans especially wanted to humiliate the Japanese by blackening the sky with a procession of squadron of American bombers soon after the Peace Treaty. It was to send a message to Japan that America was the master and holy goddess of Japan was just a geisha of Uncle Sam from now on, just as the divine Emperor was soon to be relegated to the role of McCarthur’s Tokyo Shoeshine Boy.

Though Japan was on the side of Nazi Germany while Jews were rooting for the Allies, maybe the Jews, on some subconscious level, sympathized with the Japanese in their defeat. After all, Jews remembered how their Holy Land had been invaded and ransacked by the mighty and unstoppable Romans. And Jewish Zealots had fought as bravely and desperately as the Japanese had in WWII. And some Jews might have seen Hiroshima and Nagasaki as examples of white genocide of non-whites driven by race hatred, somewhat similar to the Holocaust.

Jews and Japanese also have something in common in their juggling and fusing of particulist and universalist tendencies. Jews have long believed in the one and only universal God but also maintained a culture of racial separatism, as if Jewish blood was somehow holier than the blood of filthy goyim. Similarly, though Japanese came under the influence of universalist Buddhism, moralist Confucianism, and later Western ideas, Japanese continue to be instilled in the notion of the uniqueness of the Japanese bloodline that went back to the gods of Japan.
Also, both Jews and Japanese began to truly modernize around the same time, and then played significant roles in the modern world. Jewish liberation really took hold in the mid 19th century, around the time when Japan was being forced open by Western powers. Both Jews and Japanese resisted the change on some level, but whole new generations of Jews and Japanese eagerly adopted modern/Western ways, even trying to out-West the West and out-modernize modernity. Also, both groups were accepted and rejected from the Club of Western powers. Jews gained a prominent foothold in elite fields in the West but also continued to be seen as outsiders by goyim and weren’t allowed to join certain elite clubs. Japan was accepted as a member of the Imperialist Club by Western powers, but Japanese felt there were double-standards that blocked the yellow man of truly becoming the equal of the white man. And Japanese griped about how Americans treated Japanese-Americans hardly differently from Chinese-Americans. I mean it was one thing to treat the lowly Chinese as ‘chinks’, but why treat Japanese as ‘Japs’ if indeed Japan was on the honorary member list of Great Powers? (After WWII, both Japanese and Jews played similar roles in pretending to be slavish to mightyWasp American while working extra-hard behind the curtain to gain great wealth and power for themselves. Outwardly, many Jews didn’t ‘rock the boat’ and waved the American flag, but they were secretly working to gain at the expense of Wasps. Japanese similarly bowed down to mighty Uncle Sam while using the economic relations to their advantage, gaining global market share at the expense of Wasp-dominated America. Since Jews and Japanese were pretty much on the same page of gaining at the expense of Wasp America, there were good feelings between the two groups until the 80s when things got sour. With Wasp America beginning its steep decline, it seemed as if the future of the world would either be dominated by Jews or the Japanese. Japanese seemed to buying up even Hollywood and parts of NY, and so, Jews decided to set a trap for Japanese investments in America: they drew in the Japanese money and ensured that the investments would fail and be sold back to Jews at clearance prices. And then, Japan economically went under, and Jews rested assured that Japanese would never pose any challenge to Jewish global domination. Now, Jews are setting their eyes on China. Since mainland Chinese are not too creative, the future of Chinese power will really depend on the role of overseas Chinese and Chinese-Americans in their relation to mainland China. With so many Jews married to Chinese, this might become more complicated. But given that being a part of Jewish-America is far preferable to being part of China, most kids of Jewish-Chinese couples will likely see themselves as Jewish.) Japanese and Jews were also known for their sophistication and intellectualism on the one hand AND their vulgarity and wildness on the other. Jews produced serious scholars like Marx but also crazy clowns like the Marx Brothers. Jews produced a lot of famous classical pianists but also Al Jolson of the blackface ‘Mammy’ school. Jews dominate much of high culture in America but also the porn industry. And in the case of people like Norman Mailer and Pauline Kael, it was hard to tell where the sophistication ended and where the vulgarity began.
Similarly, the Japanese, more than other Asians, have exhibited extremes in their cultural and intellectual expression. On the one hand, there is Japan of TALE OF GENJI and tea ceremonies; and Japan produced its number of serious thinkers and artists in the 20th century. But there is also the Japan of cartoon porn, insane TV shows, and butt-naked street festivals. Indeed, Jews and Japanese may be the two porn-iest people on Earth. Jews love to see white women turned into cumbuckets of black men, and Japanese like to spray their young girls in school uniforms with buckets of ‘bukkake’ cum. And with artists like Shohei Imamura, it was difficult to tell there sophistication ended and vulgarity began, or vice versa.
In a way, both Jews and Japanese survived as a people and culture for so long due to their stress on cultural conformism. Jews wouldn’t have survived for thousands of years if Jews hadn’t stressed “We are Jews, and in order to remain Jews, we must think and act in such-and-such manner.” But paradoxically, this stress on sameness and conformity also gave rise to the Cult of Difference. The more Jews became intensely same as Jews in their Jewishness, the more they became different from non-Jews. And so, Jewishness was prized not only for ‘being same for all Jews’ but for ‘being different from all non-Jews’. Thus, the Jewish mind came to prize both sameness and differentness, which is why Jews — even on the Left and Right — all work together for Jewish interests while stressing how they themselves are so wonderfully different from all those uncreative and uninspired goyim. Similarly, the Japanese, in stressing their uniqueness as Japanese, created an highly conformist society, yet this made Japan different from others, and this differentness became a matter of pride for the Japanese.
But in the end, neither the Jews nor the Japanese could just live in their own worlds and, in time, were forced to deal with the wider world. Unsurprisingly, the twisted dynamic between their cult of sameness and cult of difference made for all sorts of cultural neuroses — not only for the Jews and Japanese but every people who had to deal with them.
Jews may also have identified with the Japanese in that both peoples haven’t been known for their bigness and toughness. Though most Jews are bigger than Japanese, Jews have often been seen in the West as nerds and geeks pushed around by big Polacks and Teutonic types. So, Jews had to use their wits and rely on spirituality to prevail over the big dumb goyim, and there was an element of this among the Japanese as well. Since Japan was a small nation and Japanese were a small people, they had to rely more on brains than brawn. And just as Jews prayed to their God, Japanese had their own national spirituality. (The rise of Zionist warrior mentality may also have something in common with Japanese samurai mentality.)
But not only do similarities attract but opposites do also, and in that sense, many Jews may have been fascinated with Japan as the fascinating ‘Other’. Jews had long been a wandering race whereas the Japanese had mostly been a stuck-in-one-place race. Jews have lived as minorities in foreign lands for most of history whereas most Japanese lived in Japan for as long as they could remember. Jews were known for their pushy personality whereas Japanese were known for their culture of politeness. The leaders of Jewish society were the Prophets and the intellectual class. Rulers of Japan had long been its military class. (On the other hand, both communities to develop a very lively merchant economy.) Traditionally, Jews had frowned upon representative arts — idolatry — whereas Japanese developed fine artistic skills over the centuries. Jewish culture was essentially moralistic whereas the core of samurai culture was essentially amoral.

Jews may also sense shades of Kafkaesqueness about the Japanese, a people who found themselves suddenly thrust into an ambiguous, contradictory, and uncertain place in the world. Just as the world of Kafka is both real and unreal, both logical and illogical, both alienating and comforting — a world that encloses and exiles you at the same time — , there was something about modern Japan that easily and uneasily fit and unfit every mold.
Though all of the non-Western world was traumatized and transformed in their encounters with the West, there was something about the Japanese that made them stand out as both like and unlike both the West and non-West. If most of the West and non-West got used to the notion of the dominant/modern West and weak/backward non-West(under the control of the powerful West), modern(izing) Japan belonged at once to either and neither. Japan was part of the non-West that came under Western threats and power, and yet it also adapted to new realities and built up its own form of modernity. And yet, instead of replacing Old Japan with a thoroughly new Japan, the Old and the New existed side by side, at once harmoniously and acrimoniously.
Now, one could argue that Western world was also a mix of the old and new. After all, even in democratic England and France in the early 20th century, there were still powerful remnants of the Church and aristocracy. And we can see from movies like CHARIOTS OF FIRE that King-and-Country was no laughing matter among the influential British elites of that period.
Even so, the West had made a more fundamental commitment to modernity and over a longer period of time, and so the Old had gradually made way for the New in what seemed like a relatively seamless process, especially in Britain that underwent no radical political or social revolutions for a long time.
But in Japan, the very new-foreign-and-modern was suddenly layered over the very old-traditional-and-atavistic, and so the two extremes were forced to exist side by side, which was bound to lead to a greater sense of cultural, spiritual, social, and psychological neuroses, especially as the Japanese, due to their traditions, tried to harmonize the contradictions as much as possible. Things might have been less Kafkaesque had the Japanese made clear distinctions between the old and the new, between foreign elements and Japanese elements. Instead, Japanese made themselves believe that they’d arrived at a harmony where everything had been integrated in a way that satisfied both modern logic and spiritual magic.
Not surprisingly, Kafka was the product of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 20th century, a civilization where the ‘ancient’ co-existed with the ultra-modern. Cosmopolitan centers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were among the most advanced and progressive places on Earth but existed within the rubric of an Old Order that was still powerful, influential, and much revered. In this environment, one couldn’t really tell what was what and who was who, and so the metaphor of the insect was perfect for Kafka in METAMORPHOSIS. Insects ‘radically’ undergo change from one form to another — and yet it’s the same organism — , and parts of Europe was undergoing such a process, and perhaps it was felt all the more acutely by Jews who especially had an ambiguous place in the this new world, not least because Jews were, at once, the most ancient/tribal people and the most modern/cosmopolitan people. It was difficult to feel truly at home in this world; even Austrians began to feel alienated from their own empire that was advancing in modernity yet being pulled about by ancient tribal rivalries, eventually pushing most Austrians to identify more with Germans than with other ethnic groups of the empire.
For those loyal to the old order, signs of new order was everywhere, and those committed to the new order felt the weight of tradition everywhere. The somewhat conservative-minded W.B. Yeats warned of ‘slouching toward Gomorrah’ in the new order, and Kafka was no less anxious about the world in which he lived. But being Jewish and leftist, he didn’t sound the alarm like Yeats. But he couldn’t mindlessly greet the new order either. There were too many uncertainties, too many questions. It was a world where one could wake up and find oneself different from everyone else or find everyone else different from oneself.

The conservative side of the Japanese character might have worried about Slouching toward Gamera — though to be sure, Gamera was a good monster and a reptile and not an insect — , but another side of the Japanese character was as bugged out about the new order — its exciting possibilities as well as its dire dangers — as Jews were in Europe. (Jews might feel a certain affinity for the Japanese due to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which along with the Holocaust, became emblematic for the kind of mass destruction that the 20th century came to be known for. And while many people died in all sorts of wars, famines, and other disasters in the last century, the label of ‘uniqueness’ has been applied to the Holocaust and Hiroshima. This is all the weirder when we consider that Japan was an ally of Nazi Germany, the biggest enemy of Jew-kind, and that Jews invented the atomic bomb that wantonly destroyed two Japanese cities. And a Jewish-American woman drafted the Japanese Constitution after the war. On the one hand, Jews supported America’s war against the heinous ‘Japs’, and Jews were only too happy to have US win WWII. And yet, White America’s mass killing of Japanese in what amounted — for a time at least — to a ‘race war’ may have made some Jews feel queasy about what White America had done to the Japanese. Charles Lindbergh, a Nazi-sympathizer, even argued that what the Germans had done to the Jews was like what Americans were doing to the Japanese, i.e. both Jews and Japanese had waged war on the white race and therefore deserved to be punished and destroyed. On the one hand, Jews were grateful to White America for defeating the Nazis, but on the other hand, Jews couldn’t help but see parallels between Wasp American power and Nazi German power. After all, both peoples had been racially conscious. Wasp America had decided not to accept most Jewish refugees during the war. White America had racial policies to keep out the non-white riff-raff and discriminated against non-whites in America, and Wasps even kept Jews out of country clubs and told Jewish men, “You can’t marry my daughter.” Jewish attitude toward Wasps can be seen in the movie FOUR FRIENDS. I’m not sure if the screenwriter Steve Tesich is Jewish, but even if not, he surely came under Jewish ideological influence in the 60s. As for the director Arthur Penn, he was as Jewish as anyone could be. Anyway, there’s a wedding scene in the movie where some ethnic white guy is about to marry the daughter of a rich wasp who, in a neo-Nazi-like fury, shoots his daughter, shoots the groom, and then shoots himself. So, Jews always had dual feelings toward both Japanese and Wasps. Hiroshima/Nagasaki was both a triumph of democratic West over ‘fascist’ Japan AND a ‘racist’ mass murder carried out by White America against a non-white race. It was both a defeat of Jap Nazis AND the Japocaust. But in the end, Jews don’t want their own tragedy, the Holy Holocaust, to be rivaled by anything else, and so Hiroshima and Nagasaki don’t get the treatment in the Western media that the Holocaust has gotten. But during the Cold War, the European Left and Communists made a big deal of the ‘evil’ committed by Americans. One strange paradox regarding Jewish fascination with and even respect for Japanese people, culture, and history may have something to do with the fact the Japanese managed to remain so Japanese through the ages, indeed even in the modern era. Filipinos, in contrast, became a bunch of Catholics under Spanish influence, and today, they are the ridiculous Mexican-Americans of Asia. South Korea is now said to be majority Christian. As for North Korea, it came under the total domination of the foreign ideology of Marxism-Stalinism, and even mighty China with its long history came under the domination of Marxism/communism — and as of now, Christianity is said to be spreading like wildfire all across China. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos were, for over a century, ruled by the French and then in the 1970s, fell to communism. Thus, these others Asians thoroughly gave themselves to a foreign ideology and tried, even if unsuccessfully in the long run, to erase their own indigenous cultures and identities — though in the long run, they reasserted themselves. In some respects, many Jews were happy to see Marxism spread throughout Asia since many Jews were on the radical left. But there is another side of Jewishness that respects a people who preserve their own sense of identity and culture since Jews had been at it longer than any other surviving culture/people. Therefore, the fact that Japan never came under the domination of a foreign ideology or culture is something that Jews can understand and respect — even as they resent the fact that the feisty Japanese haven’t submitted to the two great ideologies derived from the universal strain of the Jewish mind-set: Christianity and Communism. In a way, non-Japanese Asians are ideologically closer to Jews because their embrace of either Christianity or communism means they share in a value system and spirituality that Jews had played a major role in developing. And yet, the other side of Judaism has been particularism and tribalism, a stubborn unwillingness to submit to the cultures of other peoples, and this aspect has been most alive among the Japanese. Though Japan is the most advanced Asian country, it may well be the least Christian — at least in the religious sense. And though Japan was quicker to modernize and Westernize, the radical theory of communism came to affect other Asian nations more. The Japanese, like the Jews, drew inspiration and lessons from many other cultures, peoples, and nations but without surrendering themselves wholesale to foreign influences. The Jewish religion appropriated many themes, ideas, and even narratives from non-Jewish sources, but Jews remade and shaped them into something uniquely Jewish. Jews might have drawn ideas from other religions and gods, but, by and large, they refused to worship other religions and other gods. Jews learned, Jews took, Jews borrowed, and Jews ‘stole’, but Jews never gave themselves to other cultures. Similarly, even though the Japanese took many ideas in the arts, spirituality, philosophy, governance, and technology from other Asian nations — especially China and India — , Japanese always made these influences ‘Japanese’. Thus, a Japanese Buddhist was Japanese first and Buddhist second. And it was for this reason that communism didn’t have much of a chance in Japan. Communism called for total commitment to a single ideology. It went against the grain of Japanese culture and mind-set, and during WWII, many Japanese communists embraced nationalism; and it is also why even Jewish communists eventually turned into fervent Jewish Zionists. Even secular and liberal Jews didn’t so much join in the larger culture of Western gentile liberalism as take it over and remake it into something very Jewishy. For Jews to really embrace something, they have to kosherize it — and this is no less true of what happened to the GOP as the result of neocons(but the fact that white conservatives let this happen shows how Jews are much more energized, creative, and determined than most bland, ‘nice’, and dweeby white conservatives). This willingness to learn from other cultures without surrendering to them in wholesale fashion is what the Japanese and Jews have had in common throughout history(though this was more remarkable with Jews since they maintained their distinctiveness from a minority position whereas the Japanese had the advantage of being secure in their homeland.)
And yet, both people went about doing this in very different ways. The Jewish way was coric or core-ic whereas the Japanese way was peripheric. Jews focused more on substance whereas Japanese were more into style. Also, Jews were essentialist whereas Japanese tended to be minimalist. Jews might take ideas and themes from other cultures and remove everything but the core spiritual/thematic concept from which lessons could be drawn upon and elaborated. Thus, despite all the complexities and contradictions in Judaism, there is a core sense of unified theory and meaning. There is something at the center of Judaism and Jewish intellectualism; and this is as true of Marxism, Freudianism, and Einsteinism as well as with Yahweh-ism. In contrast, it’s hard to say what exactly comprises the core of Japanism. Unlike the Jews, Japanese never molded a clear/core set of identity and values from the ideas and images drawn from Buddhism, Confucianism, and militarism — as well from indigenous Shinto animism. Thus, Japanese-ness became more a matter of style than substance. Since Japanese had to juggle so many different thoughts and value systems and make them ‘Japanese’, the only way to become Japanese was to be Japanese in style and manner. There is the idea of the unique ‘Japanese spirit’, but it remains elusive and ‘inscrutable’ — and Japanese are the first to admit this to foreigners, and it’s supposed to take a lifetime of training and conditioning even for the Japanese to fully appreciate this spirit that is supposedly so uniquely their own; thus, in a way, Japanese are even strangers to their own selves since the ‘Japanese spirit’ cannot be expressed through ideas, values, or words; it’s not exactly a sensibility that can learned either; it’s a feeling that one has or doesn’t have, and to have it, one has to preferably be born Japanese and imbibe Japaneseness in all its ephemeral forms from cradle to grave. (Given both the love of ephemera — cherry blossoms, light snow, reflection of moon in the water, etc. — and the dedication to militarism, Japanese developed a kind of Iron Ephemera, a reality based on an oxymoron. This can be seen in Nagisa Oshima’s film GOHATTO, aka TABOO, that features a world of ruthless iron-disciplined warriors with a poetic fixation on the world around them. And during WWII, Japanese Kamikaze pilots wrote poems of their ‘sacrifice’ as akin to the falling of cherry blossoms. Japanese caught the fleeting quality in a net and turned it into an iron butterfly. And indeed Japanese have been among the most obsessive insect collectors: catching something so small and fragile and ‘fossilizing’ them forever. And Japanese tourists have been obsessive photographers, freezing the fleeting with their miniature boxes. And bonsai trees seem poetic and elegant but are the results of iron pressures exerted through steel wires and other Procrustean devices.)
Jewish spirit is filled with mystery, but there is still the core concept of God, the Commandants handed down from God, the holy Sabbath, and etc. There is a moral core to the spirituality of Judaism. In contrast, there could be no moral core in Japanese culture since militarist codes of the samurai and animistic spirituality purism of Shinto were seen as just as valuable — if not more so — than the values drawn from Buddhism and Confucianism. Thus, Japaneseness wasn’t so much about committing oneself to a core set of values as artfully finding one’s way around these mazes of contradictions. Thus, Japaneseness is more a way of being than a way of believing, and this came to influence other aspects of Japaneseness. Therefore, even making tea becomes a matter of the proper style than a matter of making good tea. And swordsmanship isn’t simply about winning duels but about having the ‘right spirit’ as a warrior. And this sense of Japaneseness could be so elusive that Japanese felt one had to be born and raised as a Japanese to truly appreciate all its nuances and subtleties — though I suspect much of it’s self-delusional baloney — or oden as the case may be. (The core-ic/peripheric dichotomy could also be understood in terms of seedic vs weedic. Jews understood the paradox that the greatest power is to be derived from the smallest core or essence of something. So, instead of bothering with outer manifestations such as idols of countless gods, Jews focused on the core concept of spirituality and created their monotheistic abstract God, which became the most powerful spiritual idea in history. In a similar way, Einstein and other Jewish scientists were able to conceptualize the greatest kind of power by focusing on the nucleus of the atom. By understanding the smallest thing, the unlocked the greatest power. What Jews had long ago done with spirituality, they did with science. And this is also why Jews are so good at computers programs. Asians may be good at building computer hardware, but Jews understand and dominate the core of software. Just as neurons control the body, the software controls the hardware. Thus, Jews got to the seed of things and were seedic. This is something the Japanese never were good at. Jewish could get to the nucleus of things whereas Japanese could only tinker with stuff at the molecular level. Japanese could observe foreign stuff and work on them from the outside. Their approach was weedic or to weed out what seemed inelegant, wrong, or and/or crude in order to arrive at a more perfect looking-and-working material. It’s no wonder Japanese made such fine gardeners. They were masters of weeding and pruning. But they were not good seeders. Jews were experts of the seed. Jews know that the real source of power is biology. The Jewish seed or semen is the most powerful and potent stuff in the world. This is why Jews wanna keep it a secret and don’t want us to talk about the biological basis of power. Jews are secretly working like crazy in the field of bio-engineering, and they want total control of the laboratory because if some way to seedically boost the IQs of all peoples to Jewish levels got out of the lab, Jews wouldn’t be anything special. This is why, if Arabs really wanna be world players, they should carry out the seedic venture of the Schwarz Project where Jewish men of very high IQ are abducted and milked of their semen. If a million Arab women were seeded with Jewish semen, Arab would be full of geniuses — and the world wouldn’t notice what happened since Jews and Arabs look pretty much alike.)
What Jews and Japanese did share is a sense of identity defined by sacred blood. Jews, being the Chosen People with a sacred covenant of God, thought themselves to possess a holier kind of blood(and semen). Jews, more than most peoples of ancient times, were obsessed about the sacredness of their blood. Though all ancient — as well as medieval and modern — cultures tended toward kinship and blood ties, it was the Jews who turned blood into something approaching an ideology. It wasn’t just about ‘all in the family’, but ‘all in the holy family of pure blood’. This is where Japanese too have been different from most other Asians. Other Asians may be into ethnic loyalty and familism, but Chinese, Mongols, and Vietnamese didn’t think of themselves as possessing a holy or pure kind of blood. And Filipinos, having come under Catholic influence, thought their blood had been mixed with the rest of the world by drinking Catholic Church wine as the blood of the universal Christ — and also because a good number of Spanish males humped a lot of Filipino women over the centuries. In contrast, the Japanese clung to the mythology that they were all the descendants of a race of gods, and so the Japanese people, even as they were similar to Asians across the seas, felt different, and this difference was a matter of their sacred and pure blood.
Few people are as insectoidean as the Japanese. There is a Japanese legend of how the Heike/Taira Clan fell to their death into the seas in their final, and the dead samurai turned into crabs or something of the other. (I know crabs are not insects, but insects and crustaceans are relatives, and you get my drift.) I first learned about it through the second episode of COSMOS by Carl Sagan. (It may have been the first time I heard Japanese flute music too.)

There’s a great film about the Heike/Taira Clan by Kenji Mizoguchi film. There’s also Masaki Kobayashi’s treatment of the Heike legend in KWAIDAN’s segment “Hoichi the Earless”, surely one of the greatest achievements in cinema.

The insectoideanness of the Japanese can be gleaned from much of their culture. Consider the famous work of animation NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WINDS by Hayao Miyazaki where the heroine is something of a friend with giant insects of the forests. Consider Kobo Abe, who was something of an insect nut, and his most famous work WOMAN IN THE DUNES begins with a modern man looking for insects; in the story, the main character becomes trapped like an insect himself. There’s an Imamura film called INSECT WOMAN using the insect as a metaphor for Japanese women struggling to survive in postwar Japan. In BUBBLEGUM CRISIS(original video animation), the hardsuits of the Knight Sabers — especially that of Priss — look like insect heads and armor. And Japan itself was saved by Mothra(a giant moth)’s two silkworm kids from the dreaded Godzilla, the reptile from the sea — at least until Godzilla changed his evil ways and fought for mankind against such creatures as the Smog Monster and Mecha-Godzilla.
Insectoideanness may be found or at least recognized in other aspects of Japanese culture. Perhaps it’s there in the funny-shaved heads of the traditional Japanese. Personally, I must say it looks rather ridiculous, but the worst feature of Japanese aesthetics was how elite women used to shave off their eyebrows, add two black smudges high on the forehead, and blacken their teeth with lead. Maybe not as bad as Chinese foot-binding but close. (If traditional Chinese bound the feet of girls at a young age, Jews in the West use media/academia power to brain-bind white goyim, at least in the area of critique of Jewish power, so that white goyim’s ability to criticize and speak truth to Jewish power shall never bloom in health and power. Jews also ball-bind white males so that white gentile balls don’t grow to full manhood. So, even as Jews continue to destroy the white race, the white race only sucks up to Jews. American politics is funny. Jews support Obama, but white conservatives oppose Obama in the name of helping Jews. What can be more absurd?)
Anyway, such freaky aesthetics had a way of making Japanese look really strange, even non-human, indeed insectoidean. Given the strictly ordered way of Japanese society — like an ant colony or beehive — , maybe there was a crazy logic to it.
There is something insectoidean about Japanese dress as well. Though much of Japanese designs were initially borrowed from China, Japanese added an insectoidean touch. Maybe the fact that silk came from insects made the Japanese all the more conscious of this. The Japanese in traditional dress and headgear looks like a colorful insect larvae. But the most insectoidean among Japanese dress is the woman’s kimono and not just because of its colors but for the transformations involved.
Much of Western dress remains fixed in form on or off the wearer. This is not so with the kimono which looks like one thing on the rack but then something quite different when worn. Consider the scene in MAKIOKA SISTERS(by Kon Ichikawa) where the elder sister spreads and hangs her kimonos before her family is about to depart to Tokyo. It is a magnificent sight, a billowing display fabrics as colorful and mesmerizing as butterfly wings. They are more like silk screens than dresses. But like the metamorphoses of insects, the kimono undergoes profound transformation as it is worn.

Insectoideanness can also be seen in depictions of Japanese sex and sexuality.
Perhaps no people/culture fetishized sex(uality) in its clothed dimensions as much as the Japanese. While all cultures have blended sexuality with articles of clothing/adornments, Japanese might have taken this to an ‘extreme’ level. In the West, there is the sensual art of the lingerie — in the way they are designed and/or wore. Lingerie isn’t just any kind of underwear, or otherwise, even ’Underoos’ would count as lingerie. Some people find lingerie even more sexy than bare nakedness because of the element of teasing. Beautifully designed, lingerie can complement the beauty of the natural body — unless it’s that of a fat slob — like spice can add flavor to meat. Given the subtle and elegant facets of lingerie, the French were no doubt the masters of it, at least until some guy came up with Victoria’s Secret. Anyway, lingerie plays and even toys with nakedness, playing a game of hide-and-seek in terms of what the guy can see; even so, the thing is to show more than hide.
But in the Japanese sexual aesthetic of clothing-and-sex, full-covered-ness has often been favored over nakedness or partial nudity(via the lingerie). This may partly owe to the importance of social identity and mask in Japanese culture. More than most societies, a Japanese is defined by what station, profession, or social status he or she occupies in life. Thus, a Japanese student is totally a student, and a Japanese nurse is totally a nurse. In SHOGUN, Mariko explains to Blackthorne that most Japanese commoners don’t have names in the Western sense — they are known by their profession. And so, Blackthorne is referred to ‘Anjinsan’, which means something like ‘Mr. Seaman’. I recall watching a documentary about Japanese society, and one of the segments was about the sex industry where a bunch of prostitutes dressed up as ‘student’, ‘nurse’, ‘teacher’, ‘office lady’, or even some cartoon character. (Imamura’s PORNGRAPHERS may still be the most interesting on the subject of sexual fetishes, though I prefer his other works.) All these social statuses, stations, identities, and professions serve as ‘proper’ barriers between individuals — in a society where public displays of sensuality are frowned upon — , but paradoxically for that very reason, they’ve been turned into objects of sexual fetish. Since Japanese are expected to wear masks all the time, the mask itself becomes the thing of desire. Thus, instead of wanting to strip away the mask/dress and screw the flesh underneath, a whole bunch of Japanese men wanna screw the shell/mask itself. This is evident in a lot of ‘shunga’ erotic art woodblock prints that gained popularity in the Floating World of the Tokugawa period. Though there are lots of prints with nakedness — partial or full — , what is most striking about many shunga works is that thepeople performing sex are fully clothed. As such, they look more like insects than humans having sex. It’s like watching sex among butterflies — or maybe birds. This couldn’t have been the result of censoriousness because the most salacious part of the sex — meeting of the penis and vagina — are graphically detailed; and incredibly in some of them, the pud of the Japanese guy is made out to be bigger than that of a Negro or Jew.
So, it appears many horny Japanese guys were turned on more by the idea of fully-clothed sex than naked sex or even partial-nude sex. Possibly, Japanese got so used to notion that the mask/dress/status is inseparable from the face/person/soul that they fell in love with the whole package; the wrapping was as crucial to the thrill as the gift inside, maybe even more precious. Indeed, the hair design of Japanese women made them look even more insectoidean; the hair, instead of being something on top of the head, looks like an extension of the head itself and like a cocoon lair.
Perhaps one of the reason why the Japanese liked to cover their bodies was because their bodies tended to be scrawny and unsightly. Or maybe it was due to the Heian influence where noblemen and noblewomen often didn’t look at one another person-to-person and only communicated with one another as shadows behind screens passing notes back and forth as in THE TALE OF GENJI, which I haven’t read but heard about. This should be differentiated from the use of the veil in Muslim culture. The Muslim veil is not sensual in any way — despite attempts at Islamic lingerie — , and its purpose is simply to hide the women; and when Muslim men finally bang Muslim chicks, I gather they like to do it naked. But female Japanese dresses did indeed have a alluring quality and indeed could be more sensual than the naked body itself. After all, what is a bird without feathers or insects without their wings and shells? Thus, when a Japanese guy got the hots for a Japanese woman, he may not have been as eager to see her naked as bang her with her clothes on, not least because a naked Japanese girl was likely to be flat-chested, flat-assed, short-limbed, and maybe mostly skin-and-bones. Thus, the Japanese pud might slip out and penetrate the Japanese poon, but otherwise, the man and woman could remain fully clothed. Similarly when insects mate, they hardly touch except through the genitals. This aspect of Japanese culture makes the Japanese paradoxically more and less natural. Less natural because it’s stuffy to have sex with clothes on, yet more natural because so many life forms in nature do have sex with their ‘clothes’ on. Whoever heard of a crab that crawls out of its shell to have sex? Whoever heard of a bird that sheds its feathers to hump another bird? And do leopards and tigers take off their furs to have sex? Thus, if most cultures removed clothes for sex, Japanese put on clothes to look like animals having sex.

The Japanese way of sex may also have made the Japanese acutely aware of the dichotomy between civilization and nature and also between higher creatures and lower creatures. On the one hand, the finely woven Japanese dresses were the mark of high civilization, a way of covering up one’s nakedness. But in another way, wearing a dress was itself a highly erotic and sexual expression. It wasn’t just about looking beautiful and magnificent — as Western noblewomen might look in their fancy dresses — but about becoming a woman in her fullness. If most cultures took off the clothes to reveal the true self — especially the ancient Greeks — , Japanese put on clothes to transform into the ‘true self’. In a way, when a Japanese wore clothing, it was paradoxically like wearing nakedness. In a way, a Japanese might feel more dressed being naked and feel more naked being dressed. If the ‘true self’ was revealed through clothes, then the dressed Japanese was more nakedly real whereas a naked Japanese momentarily undressed of his ‘true self’. This probably had nothing or little to do with shame since Japanese were not supposed to be ashamed of their nakedness, as when Mariko in SHOGUN shares the same bath with Anjinsan.
Also, few cultures were as obsessed with angularity, geometrism, rigidity, and linear forms as the Japanese. Some samurai wore clothes that looked as if starched and flattened to death.
And yet, there was also something free-flowing and formless about Japanese clothes, and a Japanese court procession could look as if consisting of slugs and snails. If most things in Japanese cultural expression was rigid, angular, and linear, the pud and poon were shapeless and mollusk-like. In the many shunga prints, the meeting of the penis and vagina look like the meeting of a sea cucumber with a cracked-open sea urchin. And perhaps this aspect of Japanese sexuality could be found in Japanese food, which is most famous for its raw fish. And indeed the rise of popularity of sushi in the West could owe to its sensual, sexual, and even aphrodisiac qualities. When a guy and girl share sushi, it could be that the guy is subliminally thinking of ‘eating pussy’ while the woman is thinking of having her ‘pussy eaten’; as such, sushi could be called ‘pushi’. Japanese food, like Japanese sex, is a meeting of two opposites. On the one hand, it is exquisitely prepared and served — almost an art form. Yet, Japanese cooking is essentially simple, and there’s something primitive about eating uncooked fish. Thus, as with the sight of a Japanese man and a Japanese woman dressed in exquisite silk but screwing one another like primitive sea creatures, there is something both extremely artificial and extremely natural about eating Japanese food, unless it’s something like mochi which is just gooey.
Anyway, the obsession with insectoideanness seems to be alive in modern Japan. Consider BONDAGE FAIRIES comics where two fairies have sex with insects. Now, what other culture can possibly derive any kind of sexual thrill from such an idea? There must be something in the Japanese mind-set that finds this sort of thing sexually fascinating and enticing.

Japanese may also feel insectoidean because of their sense of smallness and vulnerability. Even among Asians, Japanese have felt relatively small; consider how Mongol sumo wrestlers have been squashing Japanese wrestlers. And due to the preponderance of natural disasters — earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and who-knows-what-else — Japanese might have felt more insectoidean than most other peoples. Insects can easily be destroyed in all manner of ways. Even little children routinely step on insects or piss on anthills. And remember how the host of HELLSTROM CHRONICLE used his water hose to play god over the insects.

Yet, insects are also resilient. Even if most of them die, the survivors crawl out of the ground and start anew. Every time Japan was hit with a massive natural or historical gotterdammerung, when it seemed like the end of the world, Japanese insect-people found a way to build from scratch. Compare Hiroshima and Detroit(taken over by ape-like Negroes) 66 yrs after WWII. There was even an insectoidean animation movie called TWILIGHT OF THE COCKROACHES — a kind of combination of Kafka’s METAMORPHOSIS and Riefenstahl’s TRIUMPH OF THE WILL — where Japanese and Germans are depicted as cockroaches while Americans and Russians are depicted in the form of man and woman. The movie is both a replay of WWII and a fear of what may happen to Japan when White America and White Russia make peace at the end of the Cold War.

(Japanese need not have worried since America was taken over by Jews. Jews had Russia too in the 90s, but Putin rolled back some of Jewish power, which is why World Jewry hates him and why Jewish elites have ordered white goy running dogs like John Bolton, Newt Gingrich, John McCain, and John O’Sullivan — a lowlife supporter of Pussy Riot — to rabidly bark up the Russian tree. Jews want white Americans and white Russians to fight one another in their divide-and-rule strategy. If anything, white Americans should take their cue from Putin and kick Jew ass. This isn’t to say Putin is a good man, but there’s no denying his genuine love of motherland, which is a lot more than what can be said for wimps and wussies like Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Joe Biden, and Mitt Romney who kiss Jewish ass 24/7.)
Perhaps, the apocalyptic vision of the Japanese during WWII also had an insectoidean aspect. Insects are easily crushed, and hordes of them are easily wiped out, even by the whims of a child who wants to take a leak on an anthill; or consider what some kids to do insects in the opening of THE WILD BUNCH. There are certain social insects that cannot function or live on their own. This is especially true of bees and ants. It’s live-or-die-with-the-group: always with the group. There is no other way. A been or ant cannot live on its own.
Because Japanese society had become so insectoidean, there was a feeling among the Japanese that they must all win together or die together(with the Emperor). Insectoidean vibes can be felt in MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE. In one scene, the Tom Conti character talks about the anxiety of the modern Japanese. He says the Japanese couldn’t act as individuals in the modern world, and so they went mad.
If Old Japan was social-insectoidean, the new postwar Japan made an attempt to be individual-insectoidean, but it wasn’t easy because certain insects, being naturally programmed to be social creatures, didn’t really know how to function as individuals. Consider Kurosawa’s IKIRU. The old cancer victim’s transformation — one might even call it a kind of metamorphosis from his cocoon state — is a lot profounder than it would have been in the West. What’s really important isn’t that he decided to do some good for society but that he broke out of his shell and lived as an individual in the final stage of his life; and yet, ironically, his individuality was in the service of social good than for individualism’s sake. Kurosawa seemed to be saying that the true meaning of life comes neither from mindless social conformity nor aimless individual freedom. Paradoxically, it comes from making free choices as an individual in the service of the higher good of society. True morality is neither sticking to social norms or doing whatever one wants. It is existentially accepting one’s freedom as an individual but also using that freedom for the good of the whole. (It must be said this is nearly impossible with Negroes. Blacks are, by their very nature, the most 'evil' race on Earth. By 'evil', I don't mean they are always consciously evil. But just like some animals tend to be especially vicious — wolverines, African killer bees, certain snakes, tiger sharks, baboons, etc — , some races are especially nasty and aggressive. And blacks are by far the most harmful, aggressive, destructive, dangerous, and disgusting race there is.
That, in and of itself, is not the problem. If blacks happen to be that way and if we recognize their nature and deal with blacks accordingly — that is to separate them from us — , then there’s no reason for us to worry. After all, we know that grizzly bears are dangerous, and so we make sure that they live in THEIR world while we live in OUR world. Problem solved for both sides. But the West is under the liberal delusion that blacks are nobler, more spiritual, more moral, more soulful, and more conscientious than all the other races put together; and therefore, the white man has so much to learn from the Negro, and indeed the Negro holds the key to the white man's moral and spiritual redemption. Many white people even worship certain black figures like MLK, Oprah, Obama, Mandela, and etc. — who are all jackals and snakes putting on the 'noble negro' or 'cleancut negro' act to fool gulliberal whitey and stupid conservatives who are so eager to prove, 'oh gee look here, I'm NOT racist.' When the most 'evil' and bio-satanic race had been most deified and sanctified — out of 'white guilt' over the history of slavery, in fascination with the booming soulful voice of Negroes, in worship of hard muscle and big penises of Negro men, etc. — , then the world might as well be upside down. It's like a bunch of people making believe that a pack of hyenas make the best house pets — and condemning anyone who disagrees as 'racist'. While it's true that we shouldn't belittle black suffering under white rule, it doesn't morally or logically follow that "just because blacks suffered at the hands of whites, blacks are better than whites and filled with soulful nobility." A whole bunch of wolves, cougars, and bears suffered at the hands of man — and many were driven to near extinction — , but that doesn't mean that wolves, bears, and cougars are nice and gentle animals. Though we should treat them better, it still doesn't follow that we should live with wild animals.)

One of the most insectoidean films is Kenji Mizoguchi’s THE LOYAL 47 RONIN. Though many movies were made of the classic Japanese tale, Mizoguchi’s film may be the only work of art among them — just like only NOSFERATU and VAMPYR are the only Dracula movies that qualify as art. Mizoguchi’s film presents less a world of human individuals than human insects of hive society. There are many compartments to this hive society, and the lord of one compartment has been forced to commit ritual suicide, leaving his loyal retainers without a master. Thus, the masterless samurai become like bees or ants without a queen. Without a lord around which to center their lives, they feel like non-beings. And they don’t care to take up new lives as free individuals. All their lives, they’ve been trained and indoctrinated(and even bred) to serve to their lord(who happened to be a man of genuine honor), and how to be loyal warriors is all they know. It’s like drone bees only know how to be drone bees and soldier ants only know how to be soldier ants. Though samurai must be servile to their lord, there is privilege attached to being a samurai. (In a way, samurai are like both parent and children to their lords, especially if the lord is young. Samurai serve like children to their parent-like lord, but samurai also play the role of protective parents to guard their lord.) This is true of any military order — you obey your commanders but stand proud as a soldier — , but militarism had gained a near-spiritual element in the Japanese samurai order. Theoretically, the masterless samurai could find another lord to serve, but that was never easy for a samurai, who like the modern Japanese sararimen — salary men — expected lifetime employment. Also, given the sheepish and timid nature of the Japanese, even its warrior class was not used to playing salesmen marketing their skills. Many of them would have found it undignified to go door to door from clan to clan with resumes seeking new employment. Most samurai hoped to remain in the clan into which they’d been born. (Because such close social bonding could lead to complacency and laziness, the samurai code insisted on samurai remaining alert, obedient, and committed at all times by adhering to strict forms from morning to night. Without such control of manners and routine, the warrior caste might become like the decadent knights around the Round Table in EXCALIBUR.) Because of the rigid and regimented nature of the Japanese order, there was bound to a great deal of anxiety for anyone who was unloosed from the world in which he’d grown up and to which he’d grown accustomed. Notice that in HARAKIRI, the main character clings to his sword even when his family is starving and sick. Even though he’d lost his privilege, status, and wealth long ago, he psychologically clings to the thing that lent him a sense of spiritual place in the social order. (In a way, it is as difficult for the character of HARAKIRI to depart with his sword as it is for the Catholic priest in SILENCE to step on the Crucifix. The katana or samurai sword isn’t just a weapon but the ‘soul of the warrior’.) What does one do in a society that says you must belong to something and you must be utterly loyal to that which you belong, but then takes away the very thing you’d belonged to? How does one belong and remain loyal in a social order that robs you of your psycho-social home of loyalty?
The modern-humanist-individualist Western mind — or even modern Japanese mind — would say one has to pick up one’s chips, reassess one’s life, and start anew. And of course, plenty of masterless samurai did just that throughout Japanese history since they simply had no other choice. While many masterless samurai found new masters or faded into a life of farming, fishing, and trading — despite the rules of the caste system, considerable amount of caste-crossing did occur throughout Japanese history — , many samurai who were exiled from a life of meaningful servitude felt traumatized by what had befallen them. In Continental Asia, the highest honor belong to the literati and the like, and so, the greatest psycho-cultural trauma befell those who could no longer sustain their lives as dignified officials, bureaucrats, and scholars. In Japan, the biggest trauma befell members of the warrior class who suddenly discovered they no longer had a lord to serve. Both groups were vulnerable outside their realms because they weren’t trained in practical livelihoods. A scholar-bureaucrat didn’t know nor care to learn how to farm, do manual labor, or work as merchants(which was especially looked down by Confucianism). And samurai, though tough as warriors, didn’t know much else besides fighting. Some samurai were well-educated(and served as scholar-bureaucrats) and possessed artistic skills, but they weren’t trained to grow or sell stuff. Thus, when seismic socio-economic changes took place in China or Japan, many in the scholar class or samurai caste had much to be worried about.
Not surprisingly, it wasn’t unusual for masterless samurai to turn to banditry. Since they didn’t know how to work in the economy, they used the swords and fighting skills to steal — indeed, SEVEN SAMURAI is partly about good masterless samurai(who help farmers) vs bad masterless samurai(who rob farmers). Though the motley crew of bandits in Kurosawa’s film came from all social backgrounds, some of them are surely samurai-gone-bad. Unable to serve a lord and live as dignified samurai, they’ve taken to robbery and pillage. Perhaps, the bandits are made up of former samurai leading former farmers(who’d lost their land and turned to violence); crime has a democratic way of bringing everyone together. Against them are the masterless samurai who lead farmers to defend their village. But had circumstances been different, perhaps it could have been the other way around: Suppose the farming community in the film had been destroyed and the villagers had been uprooted. Might they not have turned to banditry? The character Kikuchiyo(Toshiro Mifune) bears out the strange ironies of the Japanese social order. He was born a farmer’s son, wanders around like a bandit — and could easily have been one himself — , and joins up with the samurai and farmers to fight the bandits. It’s through him that we learn that the ‘salt of the earth’ farmers have dabbled in banditry themselves, hunting down samurai of defeated clans to strip them of their armor and possessions. When the samurai are outraged by this discovery, Kikuchiyo sets them straight by telling them that the samurai too often act like bandits, destroying villages, raping women, and pretty much doing as they please. If a film like THE LOYAL 47 RONIN depicts the rigidly mazed social and cultural walls that defined traditional Japan, SEVEN SAMURAI dramatizes raw and vital humanity crashing through social barriers. In the final fight in the rain, samurai and farmers — and even the bandits — all become blurred into one humanity. Ironically, though bandits are the enemy, the samurai and the farmers become more like the bandits in this sense: they learn to look past the other group’s differences and fight as one, as a team. Among bandits, there is no farmer, no samurai; even though they’re rotten thugs, they’ve melded into one humanity, even if in the service of anti-humanity. Sometimes, it’s the basest instincts that bring humanity together, and we can certainly see that in the culture of rap, porn, comic books, and other trash culture; whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, and etc are all brought together as Big Mac munching, TV-addicted, video game playing, porn-whanking, and moronic mass of animalistic tards. It’s like stray dogs of various breeds will all hump one another in the streets, and this may be one reason why the intellectual Left, though traditionally dismissive of commercial popular culture, has become tolerant and even supportive of trash culture, which more effectively breaks down barriers among the races than high culture or intellectual leftist culture could ever hope to do. (Idiots of all races go gaga over Lady Gaga and drool to Kanye West, but notice only affluent whites show up to watch stuff like JEANNE DIELMAN, which will likely drive 99.99% of Negroes crazy. Sometimes, Negroes are saner than educated white folks.) After all, when a white person becomes well-educated and well-versed in intellectual leftism, he or she tends to seclude himself or herself in a kind of whitopia of college campuses or elite urban life. Art house movie theaters attract liberals and leftists, but they are overwhelmingly white like the GOP or Grand Ole Opry. In contrast, white trash and black trash into rap and porn are humping one another — though it’s mostly black males doing white females — all over America. And white trash males are desperately trying to imitate blacks and act like rap stars themselves. An highly educated white leftist has very little to do with much of black culture and the black community, but even a white trash redneck male may be into rap music while a white trash redneck girl might be into sucking Negro cocks. The lower order all act like stray dogs in heat. (And so, the GOP will even lose its white trash base, which is the real anxiety of COMING APART by Charles Murray.)
Interestingly enough, Kurosawa made films called STRAY DOG and LOWER DEPTHS, both of which deal with lower class — even criminal — elements of Japanese society. Kurosawa found the world of the ‘lower depths’ vital and refreshing — in the HIDDEN FORTRESS, a snot-nosed princess gains a greater sense of humanity under the guise of a commoner, the reverse of what happens in KAGEMUSHA(where a commoner takes on the guise of a clan lord) — but also corrupted and dehumanizing, as in the world of STRAY DOG and DRUNKEN ANGEL. Though Kurosawa was traumatized and saddened by Japan’s defeat and destruction in WWII, he found the postwar period to be an exciting and promising time to build a newer and better Japan. In the new world, the rigid barriers of the past — between men and women, between Japanese and foreigner, between traditional and modern, among the classes, etc — seemed to dissolve and open up whole new choices and possibilities. Yet, postwar Japan was also like an open wound festering with germs, maggots, and parasites, and so, social commentators and artists diagnosed the disease and/or proposed solutions. Kurosawa could never be as accepting of or enthused about Japan’s lower orders as Imamura would be. Kurosawa was too much of a moralist to really feel at home among the common-and-wretched folks. He could sympathize with them and rub shoulders but never really be one with them. To be sure, Imamura was a moralist in his own way but without the element of teacher-student didacticism or the sentiment for social reform or personal redemption at the core of Kurosawa’s world view. It was fitting that Kurosawa’s last film was about an aging teacher and his loyal students from pre-war to post-war times. (Compare that with one of Imamura’s final films about an old doctor: DR. AKAGI, aka KANZO SENSEI. Imamura was nothing if not irreverent. In contrast, even a Kurosawa film as cynical as YOJIMBO has us revering the great hero who finally cleans up the town.) The cult of needing-to-belong was such in Japan that the character in KAGEMUSHA chooses to die for a clan that isn’t even his own — a clan that had only used him and then tossed him out like an orange rind. (The imposter-samurai of SEVEN SAMURAI also would rather fight and die along with real samurai for a village that isn’t his own than be a wandering nobody.) The scene when the ‘shadow warrior’ is expelled from the Shingen clan is absurdly moving because he has genuinely absorbed the spirit of the clan that no longer has any use for him. He’s like a loyal dog that only wants to serve his master but is kicked out of the house, but then, there’s a funny irony since he’d been recruited to play the master — and most of the members of the clan had seen him as the real lord and served him loyally. Though initially reluctant to play the part, he’d grown into the role and come to love the clan. And it wasn’t just the privilege of living the good life behind castle walls. After all, in the final battle, he chooses to die a lowly death as a lone foot-soldier along with the vanquished clan than live on as a free man. He’d once been a free and uncaring bandit but having tasted a sense of being something-greater-than-himself, he chose to die with the clan than live on without it, no more than a bee would wanna live apart from the hive. (Pathetically, many white conservatives have fooled themselves that they are part of the Zionist Clan when Jews are only using them just like the Shingen Clan used the thief. Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum, who both lived among Jews in Israel, think Jews really accept and appreciate them as ‘honorary Jews’ when, in fact, most Jews — even neocon Jews — deep down inside loathe white conservatives and only use them as puppets or cannon fodder. But then, there is this need for people to belong to a holy order — something ‘bigger than themselves’ — , and it just so happens that for many white conservatives who are no longer allowed to feel pride in whiteness or European ancestry, there is the tribal holiness of Zionism.)

The classic tale of the Loyal 47 Ronin, aka “Chushingura”, is one of the most proto- and quasi-Kafkaesque stories, and Mizoguchi understood some of these implications(though, for all I know, he may never even have read Kafka). Generally, movies based on the story of the Loyal 47 Ronin have focused on the characters when the real essence can only be derived from the relation between the characters and their physical culture. It is essentially an insect tale of samurai who had been part of an organic hive finding themselves in a confused maze, psychological as well as physical. Mizoguchi didn’t so much tell it as a human story as a journey through a labyrinthine world of HELLSTROM CHRONICLE-or-TRON proportions. Other comparable films are Jacques Tati’s PLAYTIME and Kubrick’s THE SHINING. What makes LOYAL 47 RONIN Kafkaesque are dual or multi-layered meanings of the world it depicts. It’s a world that is, at once, intensely logical and illogical, moral and amoral. It’s a world where everyone is right and wrong, where every act is right and wrong, where in being right there is a wrong, where in being wrong there is a right. It’s a world of multiple signals and counter signals. Every act is both correct and wrong. Every redress is both correct and wrong. Even the physicality of this world is deceptive and dualistic. The paper thin walls are both fragile and forbidding. Japanese architecture was never imposing like the European kind as Japanese prized fineness over bluntness. Since Japanese physical barriers were inadequate to keep people and things separate by mass/imposition alone, a sense of (propriety)of separateness had to be internalized in the hearts and minds of the Japanese, i.e. psychological walls were erected within the Japanese. The Japanese prison was as much an internal as external reality. It is this dualistic sense of barriers that makes for a certain Kafkaesqueness in Japanese culture. Near the end of Kafka’s THE CASTLE, the main character chooses to sleep in the hallway and provokes a pandemonium among the guests in the room. Unbeknownst to him, he’s violated the protocol of the place that is, at once, vague and absolute. Though rules of traditional Japan were strict, they were so contradictory — and their justifications were so opaque — as to drive a person crazy in their maze-like grip. But even as the rules could drive people crazy, the ideals of social virtue placed great emphasis on harmony, and so, even people driven crazy had to express their craziness in proper harmonic form. This is why the story of the 47 Ronin is utterly crazy and utterly sane at the same time, or it’s craziness carried out in the manner of sane sobriety; indeed, this could be said seppuku(or harakiri) itself, a crazy and messy bloodbath that’s been finely tuned and orchestrated into a ‘neat’ ritual.

Now, all societies had the problem of moral hypocrisy, but some tended to be more might-is-right while others tended to be more right-is-might. And there was a hierarchy of values. Thus, even though Christian West was, in practice, not very Christian, all good Christians still understood the highest moral value: the Word of God. And so, even though some good Christians might be persecuted and killed in their time, they could be rehabilitated as truer Christians and honored as saints for they’d lived and died with God’s truth. And among Muslims, the values handed by Allah through the Prophet Muhammad are the highest summit of morality and spirituality. And in China, Confucian virtue was deemed the highest. Chinese could be awful corrupt, vicious, and vile, but they still upheld, more or less, a cogent moral vision of life and right & wrong. Also, some societies were primitive and crude in their morality and lived essentially by the hunter-warrior ethos of might-is-right, which made some consistent sense.

The strange and fascinating thing about Japan was there never developed a cogent moral view of society or life(even though Japan became one of the great high civilizations). Unlike the Catholic Pope, one could never tell what moral values the Japanese Emperor stood for. If Japan had been dominated by the Confucian scholar class, maybe an more comprehendible moral order would have been possible. But Japan was controlled by the military class, and neo-Confucian scholars served them than the other way around. If Japanese military class had been a bunch of ruffian boors, then the moral code simply would have been might-is-right, but the military class of Japan had become highly refined and civilized, highly cultured(and many samurai served as scholars and bureaucrats). Mere raw barbarian power wouldn’t do. Samurai were not like Huns, Vikings, or Mongols.
Japanese morality and values became a function and expression of style, ritual, etiquette, protocol, manners, procedures, and etc. While such things mattered in all traditional societies with powerful kings and noblemen, it became the highest value in Japan. In the Christian world, even a lowly stinking fool could be deemed a child of God or a saint if pure of heart. Though the aristocrats put on fancy airs, Christians never believed that possessing/exhibiting the correct cultural style/spirit/manners was synonymous with virtue. In the eyes of God, even a poor and lowly saint was morally and spiritually higher than the richest and more powerful lord. Thus, even if a powerful lord killed a virtuous man or woman, he might later atone for his sins and memorialize the victim as a saint. (In a way, MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE is like BECKETT in their homo-eroticism and Christian ethos. The death of the martyr leads to relief, grief, and finally personal redemption-of-sorts for the oppressor.) But such free-flowing morality or spirituality never existed among the Japanese. And this is why some people have found the works of Yukio Mishima to be empty. John Nathan said it was like beautiful picture frames without the pictures. The Japanese never fully developed the idea of the soul independent of cultural structures, and therefore, what was crucial to the Japanese was how one’s life could serve/support the frame than fill the frame. LOYAL 47 RONIN is like being trapped in a world of shifting frames where everyone’s worth, place, will, and needs are determined by the circumstances of how their duty to their lord is framed.
And yet, the framing isn’t alienating as in modern art or in films like THE ECLIPSE(Antonioni) and PLAYTIME. For if modern Western man found himself as a free individual adrift among objects of a landscape that imparted little meaning to him, the people of the traditional Japanese order not only knew the world they belong to, but it was the ONLY one they knew; also everything in it signified their place in the order and their duty to the order.
Yet, something that makes total or absolute sense in one way can make no sense in another way. Consider the Hal computer in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. As far as Hal is concerned, he is all-knowing and error-free and all-perfect. On that premise, everything makes sense to Hal. But when Hal is confronted with the possibility that he might have committed an error, nothing makes sense to him. Thinking in such binary terms, there are only two possibilities for Hal. Hal is right and the world is wrong, or the world is right and Hal is wrong. It cannot be both Hal and world could be wrong sometimes. Since the world didn’t conform to Hal’s calculation, Hal wishes to destroy the world. He kills the astronauts, but if he had the power to destroy the entire universe for not conforming to his calculation, he might have done that too. It’s like God in the Genesis finding out that the perfect world He’d created isn’t perfect, and therefore He must destroy it all as the evidence of His own imperfection — and He comes pretty close to destroying it all in the story of the Great Flood. Similarly, in TRON: LEGACY the character of Clu is completely in tune with and functional in the ‘perfect system’ that he created. But what makes total sense in Clu’s world makes no sense outside it, and so Clu is dead-set on destroying everything that is not ‘perfect’, not in sync with his idea and sense of perfection. It’s like red ants and black ants will try to totally destroy one another for there can only be one perfect ant colony system.
As long as the lord was alive in the LOYAL 47 RONIN, his warrior-servants had a ‘perfect’ place in their world, and everything made sense. They had an honorable lord to serve, and each samurai had duties to carry out impeccably. Each had pride and place in his little world as a part of a larger world, at the apex of which sat the Emperor. But when the master was forced to commit suicide for having disgraced the sacred order, the whole world is turned upside down for the retainers. If the master had indeed been completely in the wrong, then the retainers might have better understood and accepted his punishment and the dissolution of the clan. But the master was forced to kill himself for having lashed out at an arrogant, (allegedly)corrupt, and insufferable official. The master had acted honorably(even in violation of etiquette) against a dishonorable man, and this is crucial to his retainers since a samurai is nothing without honor — and the honor of the master reflects on his retainers and vice versa. So, even though the entire clan has been disgraced along with the master, the retainers feel that there was and is honor to be defended.

What results from all this is a kind of a circular maze. In a way, the problem was initiated by the conflict between righteous virtue and proper form. Though form and manner are important to any society, most advanced civilizations put a higher premium on righteous virtue. So, the good man may still be in the right even if he lost his composure/temper in a fit of rage against an evil man. Though we favor the Rule of Law — and though we harshly punish people who take law into their own hands(especially if they’re white folks fighting back against black crime/violence) — , many of us still sympathize with action driven by righteous passion. If a good man loses self-control and rudely speaks out against the bad man who’s refined but morally shabby, we root for the former. In MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, James Stewart’s character goes kinda nuts, but we side with him because he’s risking everything to speak the truth. Or consider the scene in PATHS OF GLORY where the Kirk Douglas character loses self-control and tells his superior to go to hell and shove it. (The exception today is when someone has the courage to speak the truth about the problems of race, black savagery, and Jewish hideousness. When John Derbyshire courageously wrote a column about black racial reality in America, he was stoned by the entire media. The Magic Negro has become like the holy sacred emperor christ figure of America despite all the evidence of the true nature of blacks.) In the West, though manners and appearances are important, ideally the higher value is placed on those who with the courage to blurt out the truth and take action. This was not — and still may be not be — the case in Japan.
Consider how the Japanese ambassador to Peru was forced to resign in Japan for his ‘bad manners’ and refusal to apologize and take the blame. Though the man had undergone a terrible ordeal and done his best under the circumstances, the petty Japanese got all upset over the fact that he didn’t return, get on his knees, bow his head low, and grovel. His great sin was having dressed casually and chain-smoked at a press conference. For some reason, politicians and media figures who’d comfortably and safely been in their own country saw fit to condemn a man who’d gone to hell and back. (To be sure, judging by what Don Imus had to go through for his offhanded remark about ‘nappy-headed hos’, America is turning Japanese too. Or consider how Billy Graham got on his knees and cried like a baby before Jews when his secret conversation with Nixon about Jewish power was released. And who can forget Stephanie Grace who was forced by the Jewish dean of Harvard to apologize for the politically incorrect content of her private email? Notice how the Jewish-controlled media jumped on Grace for her allegedly ‘racist’ email than on the person who ‘named’ or ratted on her or on the abuse of power by the Harvard dean who has no use for privacy, the First Amendment, or freedom of inquiry and thought. Yet, these are the same people who say McCarthyism was so horrible for smoking out American communists who willingly served Stalin and his Jewish henchmen. Welcome to the Jew-dominated New World Order. Sadly, just like a meek Japanese, Grace apologized than standing on her own ground. If American conservatives and rightists had any balls, they would be taking over the offices of university deans and presidents with guns as leftists and blacks did in the Sixties. Black students wielding shotguns took over Cornel, and Jewish leftists took over the office of the Columbia university president. And almost always, the administration bent to the demands. Sometimes, there is nothing like real force and violence. But white conservatives are just to wussy and wimpy to take bold action.) No matter how much one may in the right, one could be deemed to have committed the most grievous wrong if he upset the sacred decorum of the social order, especially if it involved a high official or the Imperial Court or Shogunate court. This emphasis on form may partly have been the result of the naturally timid and servile nature of the Japanese — and Japanese might have gotten more timid and servile over time since the miliary class had the habit of ruthlessly killing anyone who showed any signs of ‘uppitiness’. Over a long period, Japanese became a bunch of Uncle Tomos. Since those with bold personalities had their heads chopped off, they were less likely to have offsprings. Why is it that Japanese schoolgirls remain silent in trains and buses even when sexually molested by dirty old perverts? It’s because if she told the old dirtbag to stop it and ‘fuc* off’, Japanese society will likely see her violation of social etiquette as more egregious than the dirty deed of the old man. You see, the dirty old man might have done something vile and disgusting, but he did it discreetly — he maintained the facade of etiquette — , and as long as it was discreet, everyone could make believe it didn’t happen.

Similarly, in the LOYAL 47 RONIN, the corrupt elderly official had pressed the young master for bribes, but he’d done it discreetly, through hints and suggestions. In contrast, the young master, though morally virtuous, acted brashly and pulled out his sword against the rotten corrupt official in the Shogunate court where samurai must at all times keep their swords in their scabbards. Thus, social form was as equally important as virtue — or even more important — in Japan. Even so, things might have been simpler if the Japanese order made it absolutely clear that social form totally trumps moral values. But that wasn’t the case. Though the young master was ordered to commit seppuku(ritual suicide) for his offense, there was some degree of official recognition for his reasons for striking out at the corrupt official. Thus, the masterless samurai are stuck in a kind of limbo where their master was both right and wrong, and by extension they too are right and wrong. Also, there are layers of hierarchies that complicate the morality of this tale further. If the Shogun is the highest political/military authority in Japan, then all samurai had to be loyal to him. And yet, every samurai was also taught and trained to be utterly loyal to his immediate lord. So, what must one do if one’s obligated to avenge one’s immediate lord when the edict from the Shogun is for the ronin NOT to take any vengeful action. Being loyal to one’s lord’s memory/honor would be being disloyal to the Shogun(and by extension even to the Emperor), and vice versa.
Also, samurai were under two forms of authority: spiritually under the sacred but vague authority of the seemingly passive Emperor AND socially under the hard & ruthless regimen of samurai code of bushido. A Christian Knight might feel a similar moral contradiction in using the sword to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ who preached peace. But at least the Knight knew that he was compromising his values to survive and win against the enemies and that he would have to atone for his sins in purgatory for having lived by the sword. And Jesus, in His boundless mercy, may forgive the knight for having failed to live up to the highest Christian principles.
But the only power that emanated from the Japanese Emperor was a sense of holiness, but the moral content of this holiness was difficult to ascertain. If the Shogun were the Emperor, then the highest authority might have stood for might-is-right and militarism. Instead, the Emperor was often an effete, overly refined, and almost fragile figure who remained in an enclosed world and carried out rituals. It was as if he had to be protected in his own cloistered world because contact with the real/outside world might contaminate and sicken the purity of his being — the opposite of Jesus who went among the sick and wretched, touched them, and died a bloody mess. The Emperor was like an holy invalid — and who knows, maybe this was the result of too much inbreeding among the Royal Clan. So, the ultimate sacred figure — assumed to be a god — of Japan was some frail effete figure who basically remained in the shadows.
In contrast, there was the samurai order centered around the hard discipline, absolute loyalty, and resolute action. In some ways, things might have been better — or at least clearer — if the 47 retainers had been ordered to die along with their master. That way, even if they felt their clan had been wronged, they could honorably die with their lord and demonstrate their absolute fealty to him. But they were left alive by the higher authority that sent mixed signals. On the one hand, their lord had committed a grievous and unpardonable crime and had to pay with his life. On the other hand, he had acted virtuously against a corrupt official, and so his clan should be spared total destruction. So, the 47 ronin find themselves in a state of limbo, rather like the character in THE TRIAL who can never be sure if he’s guilty or not guilty.
The world of Joseph K. is, at once, utterly logical and utterly illogical. It is a modern bureaucratic state where justice is governed by laws and a judicial system. And yet, as Joseph K. is pushed around from place to place, from person to person, everything seems to make less sense. It is only through the law that he can resolve his problem, but the law has become more like a maze than a map. Bureaucracy that was ostensibly created to make things run more efficiently and rationally has turned into a vast labyrinth of mixed, contradictory, and counter signals. But then, maybe the system was created to obfuscate and ‘hide’ the law than to exercise and execute it clearly and fairly. The world of THE TRIAL is more disturbing than the one of THE LOYAL 47 RONIN, but in the end, neither allows for a satisfactory resolution. We don’t exactly know why Joseph K. is killed with a knife. Because he’s guilty? Because he’s not guilty and must be ‘disappeared’ as evidence of bureaucratic foul-up?
And though the 47 ronin finally do avenge their master and fulfill their duty to honor, they must all die by gutting themselves with their own blades for they’d acted against the Shogunate order. In a way, everything and nothing is resolved at the end of THE 47 RONIN. Everyone gets what he wants. The retainers avenge their master by attacking the house of the corrupt official who is killed. But in having violated the Shogunate decree against vengeance, the ronin — to the last man — must ‘atone’ for their disobedience by committing ritual suicide, which they are willing to do in order to prove the purity of their motives and their ultimate fealty to the sacred order. Thus, one can say everything has been solved, but what really has been solved? Did the deed of the 47 ronin and their fate resolve the moral contradictions at the core of the Japanese social order? No, and Japanese history leading up to the Pacific War attested to the problem, for many of the junior military officers who carried out killings of ‘corrupt politicians’ and ‘anti-expansionist military officers’ had acted according to the ‘logic’ of the most famous and revered tale of Japan, that of the 47 Ronin. Just as the 47 ronin were willing to disobey the Shogunate Court in order to prove a higher loyalty to the spirit of bushido, the radical junior officers of modern Japan were willing to commit political assassinations and die for their ‘pure and necessary’ deeds in order to prove a higher loyalty to the Emperor. Though the Emperor forbade military officers from committing such acts, the ‘pure-hearted’ officers disobeyed the Emperor in their conviction that the Emperor was being misled by vile, materialistic politicians who were betraying Japan. Thus, their disobedience to the Emperor was really a higher form of obedience to him. (Maybe there is a similarly twisted logic at work in the Christian Right’s crazy loyalty to Zionism. Many American conservatives are even more extreme and reckless in their commitment to Israel, even in opposition of the wishes of most American Jews. But perhaps, such American conservatives see their ‘disobedience’ to most American Jews as a kind of higher loyalty to what Jewishness should really be.) And there was popular support of such ‘pure-hearted’ officers. Though some of those officers came from peasant backgrounds, the universalization of samurai-style-nationalism made for a volatile situation. The elites had spiritually militarized Japan to create a more united and stronger nation, but the newly radicalized military men — from all backgrounds — began to exert pressure on the elites to fulfill the ‘true destiny’ of Japan. Since Japanese had become instilled with the idea of Japan as the rightful ruler of Asia, the ‘idealistic’ officers didn’t merely call for greater militarization of Japan but aggressive expansion into Asia.
In one way, one could say that the 47 ronin acted contrary to the wishes of the Imperial Court and the Shogunate. In the official sense, this is true. Yet, on another level, one could argue that — at least subconsciously — the higher orders wanted the 47 ronin to take vengeful action and die for their action, almost as if that was the only way the situation could be resolved satisfactorily. It was as if the higher orders, consciously or subconsciously, laid the conditions for a partial rebellion that would cleanse the system of both the corrupt official — who really deserved to die and be punished — and also be rid of the men who dared to disobey the order. It is like killing two birds with one stone. (There’s a similar ‘political’ dynamic in Sam Peckinpah’s THE KILLER ELITE where the higher-ups instigate a controlled rebellion of sorts to ‘clean house’. Incidentally, the deceptive mode of America’s intelligence community is paralleled with similarly hidden ways of Asian gangsters and secret societies.) Though such is only speculation, THE LOYAL 47 RONIN invites such questions because of its multi-layered and intercrossing signals of meaning. Especially as depicted in the film by Mizoguchi, the relational dynamics between individuals and the system, between morality and duty, and between social formality and human emotionality allow for shifting interpretations. (The fact that Mizoguchi’s masterpiece received merely three votes while a foul stinker like Chantal Akerman’s JEANNE DIELMAN got 34 votes is a sad indication of the idiotic state of our all-too-politically correct and conformist-radical condition of film culture.)

There are two kinds of mazes whether they be physical and psychological. Those made of solid walls and those made of thin or invisible — or something in between that might be called ‘thinvisible’ — walls. In a maze of solid walls, you really don’t know where you are as the walls are impenetrable and unbreakable. You can’t break through the walls and must move through the pathways; you may or may not know what you’re searching for AND you may or may not be familiar with the pathways of the maze. The spaces within the Overlook Hotel in THE SHINING are like a maze of solid walls. The characters are trapped within the maze walls, which also serve as a metaphor for psychological walls. The character of Jack Torrance(Jack Nicholson) is trapped both physically and psychologically within a solid maze. And so is his wife. But ghosts can see through the physical walls and move in and out of the walls of Jack’s psyche. Ghosts have an overlook view of the maze, which Jack and his wife do not. But their son is somewhere in between. Having the power of ‘the shining’ — a kind of Negro-ish voodoo mind trick — aided by some nerdy wisdom tooth that speaks through the boy’s pinky finger, the son is situated somewhere between the real world(of solid mazes) and the ghost world(of transparent mazes), an idea later revived in SIXTH SENSE(but then, the idea of some kid with special psychic power has been around forever, not lease because kids, in their as yet incomplete grasp of reality and rationality, seemed to live in a kind of wonderland; one of the pleasures of raising children is to relive and reconnect — through one’s own children — with the lost wonderland where reality is less a matter of true-or-false than strange-and-magical; religion, despite its emphasis on adult responsibility and morality, make us feel like children again in our faith that overlooks issues of fact vs fiction). So, while the son is also trapped within the maze, he has a better mental map than his parents do, and in the end, he plays a key role in bringing his father’s murderous rampage to an end.
MEMENTO by Chris Nolan is about a man trapped in a maze of solid psychological walls. Having lost the power of long-term memory since the time when an attacker killed his wife and struck him on the head, everything he’s done since then is hidden behind the wall of amnesia. Yet, he moves through a maze of his own making — and bodily markings given his reliance on mementos and tattoos to ‘remind’ him of what he must do to find the murderer of his wife — that lends meaning and purpose to his life. Yet, just like the ghosts in THE SHINING have the overview of the maze in which Jack Torrance is trapped — perhaps even willingly — , there is a corrupt policeman in MEMENTO who sees through, understands, and exploits the ruined mental map of the main character. In a way, the kind of amnesia suffered by Leonard Shelby(Guy Pearce) in MEMENTO is worse than full-blown amnesia where one doesn’t remember anything and can at least start a new life by slowly constructing a new identity. Suppose Leonard had forgotten who he is and who his wife was and how she died. He could at least start with a blank slate, difficult though it may be emotionally. But his problem is he vividly remembers his life up to the point when the tragedy occurred, and so that becomes the driving force of his life. But we eventually learn that the policeman had helped him track down the killer long ago, and Leonard did get his revenge. But since his short-term memory cannot be stored into long-term memory, he almost immediately forgot that the murderer had already been killed and goes searching for him again and again and again. And the corrupt policeman feeds Leonard false information to make him think that the men that the corrupt cop wants killed are the murderer of Leonard’s wife. And so, Leonard has been killing a bunch of people who didn’t kill his wife in the conviction that they killed her. But even that craziness gave him some meaning and purpose in life. But when someone tricks Leonard into thinking that the corrupt cop is the one who killed his wife, Leonard kills the corrupt cop and thereby won’t have anyone to feed him false information anymore. He has no one ‘guide’ him even if guiding him in the wrong direction, which at least lent some meaning to his existence. We all have a psychological need to be on some kind of a path, regardless of whether it’s right or wrong, true or untrue. Without such paths, we feel lost and our lives feel meaningless. After all, even when Scotty in VERTIGO discovers that the whole romance-thing had been false and he’d been taken for a sucker, he can’t let go of its meaning because it was and will be, true or false, the most meaningful thing in his life. And the hero of LA JETEE may realize on some level that everything he’d seen and experienced through the ‘time travel’ may actually have been nothing but hallucinations manipulated in his mind by scientists, but the images have become the dreams by which and with which he wants to live and die. This is why some people need to join religions, ideologies, movements, cults, subcultures, and etc. The main reason is less a search for truth as the need for meaning, and something doesn’t have to be true to be meaningful. If anything, more meanings(at least in the personal if not objective sense) are to be found through fantasies, illusions, and ideals.

But not all walls of mazes are solid and impenetrable, and in Kafka’s works, especially THE CASTLE and THE TRIAL, the walls of the maze — physical and psychological — are not always solid. At times, they are invisible or thinvisible, i.e. they can, at times, be seen through but one chooses to pretend otherwise. This was certainly true of Japanese architecture, much of which was ‘flimsy’ and fragile by Western standards. Though Japanese did build big castles with great rock foundations surrounded by moats, much of Japanese architecture — especially inner spaces — was characterized by barriers made of thin wood panels, silk screens, or even paper doors — which looked somewhat like honeycombs. And even within massive castles, the interior spaces were often separated by relatively fragile material. And given the hilly and mountainous features of Japan, it wasn’t easy for Japanese to create spaces that could be sealed off from the eyes of others. Thus, even a lowly farmer, upon climbing a hill, could get a glimpse inside the walls of a nobleman’s castle or some such. Perhaps, Japanese didn’t need to build castles and walls as massive as those in Europe because Japan had become a society of ultra-manners and restraint. Since more people were likely to mind their business and stay in their own place, there was less need to have huge walls all over to fend off the loutish. (Also, though there were bloody wars amongst the Japanese clans, Japan never had to worry about barbarian invasions except the two unsuccessful attempts by Mongols. As such, Japanese wars tended to be more of an official nature among major clans than about kingdoms having to defend themselves from barbarian incursions. In Europe, the kingdoms had to defend themselves not only from other kingdoms but from the not infrequent barbarian invasions — at least up to the end of Middle Ages when the massive castles went up. Even when a kingdom defeated other kingdoms and became the dominant regional power, there was no guarantee of its safety from barbarian attacks from such peoples as the Vikings. And in Southern Europe, there was always the danger of Muslim invaders, and Russians feared Mongols and other barbarians for a long time.) In contrast to Japan, just about every home has massive walls in South Africa, a nation filled with millions of Negro thugs with guns, knives, and machetes. As long as Japanese people minded their manners, there would have been less need to man the barricades.
But another key influence was surely the culture that developed in the period of the Heian court, perhaps the most subtly refined nobility culture developed in history. Though it was too fragile, refined, and ‘wimpy’ to survive in a ruthlessly competitive world, its beauty and allurement were such that the samurai class valued, preserved, and appropriated it. It’s like a barbarian can smell flowers too. It’s like a big dog can adore a cute kitten. And this led to one of the strangest developments in Japanese history — and in world culture as a whole. Perhaps only the French — and maybe Ancient Egyptians — developed something comparable: the fusion of utmost subtlety and refinement with utmost brutality and ruthlessness. Ruth Benedict referred to it as dynamic/dialectic of the ‘Chrysanthemum and the Sword’, and though an element of this has existed in all civilizations, it took on a special form and meaning in Japanese culture because of the extremities of both the fineness and the ruthlessness. This never happened in China, even under the rule of aggressive Mongols and Manchus. Mongol warrior culture and Chinese Confucian culture remained opposites, and the Mongol stuff eventually was subsumed into Chinese culture. In China, at least in terms of cultural ideals, one thing had to dominate the other. So, under Confucianism, refined scholar-bureaucrats were the models of society while the soldier class was seen as lowly and brutish — at best a necessary evil. And under communism, China was ruled by brutally militant egalitarian radicals who waged ruthless war on everything that was refined. Mao’s so-called ‘Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’ unleashed tens of millions of Red Guards to go around rampaging across China, smashing everything tainted with ‘reactionary old culture’. It was one of the biggest cases of idol-smashing pillages in human history, what with countless artistic and cultural treasures and artifacts destroyed as false idols in the new world of communist China where the Chairman — displayed across countless posters and in statues — was the only true god and where his words were the only truth. Even entire libraries of elite universities were emptied and burned.

Though there were extensive destruction of culture in the many battles and wars among the Japanese during the long century of civil wars from the late 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century, the Japanese ideal was to find a way to ‘harmonize’ the culture of fineness with the culture of brutality. And it may have been this amazing feat — a long-lasting and meaningful(to the Japanese at least) harmonization of seeming opposites — that made Japanese especially partial to the ideal of harmony, indeed to the point where the cult of harmony became harmful to Japan. After all, everything has a useful limit. Too often today, when more Japanese should come forward and speak loudly about what’s wrong with their society, there is the prevailing notion that the only true way to solve all problems is to seek harmony. Japanese cultural logic came to be thus: “If we Japanese managed to harmonize refined and subtle — even effete — Heian court culture(that came to define the image and aura of the long line of Emperors who, unlike shoguns, were raised to be and depicted as refined men detached from worldly affairs AND to lay forth the aesthetic ideals and expressions of so much of Japanese art and culture ranging from origami to gardening) with the iron-cold and ruthless ways of the samurai military class, why couldn’t we harmonize whatever else?”(Paradoxically, Japanese may have grown anti-foreign because they had brilliantly adopted and absorbed so many foreign ideas. Japanese managed to harmonize all the contradictory ideas, icons, and images from abroad, but this process was never easy. And the harmonization was inherently unstable since it happened more in the areas of style and aesthetic spirit than in moral philosophy or soulful depth; it lacked a core-ic foundation/formulation. It’s as if the Japanese had built a house of incompatible materials but amazingly made it stand and last. But there was always the fear that ‘more new/foreign stuff’ might be too much and bring down what had taken so much effort to create. So, even though Japanese did amazing things with foreign materials, the inherent fragility of what they’d created made them fear ‘more new/foreign stuff’ since such might finally tip the balance and destroy the entire edifice. It’s like when you erect a house of cards, the higher you build, the more you become nervous of your surroundings, and so tell others to back off and keep the pets out and shut the windows in fear of gust of winds, etc.) And in the modern era, the Japanese were partly egged by admiring Westerners who praised how Japan had brilliantly harmonized elements of the East and West, of tradition and modernity, of individuality and community, of democracy and discipline. And much of the praise may have been justifiable up to the late 70s and early 80s, but a newly stable Japan that arose as an economic superpower in the 80s produced a new social order of such stifling conformity and stability; the emphasis on harmonization undermined the necessary innovative spirit and critical mentality necessary in a fast-changing globalized world. (There are two kinds of harmonics: harmonization and harmonized-nation. Harmonization implies the existence of contradictions, opposites, tensions, and problems. Thus, harmonization is a creative and lively process, i.e. an attempt to deal with various ill-fitting and conflicting ideas, tendencies, values, and trends in society. But once harmonization is achieved and the product of harmonization is held up as the official truth, the end-result is a harmonized-nation that stifles creativity, competitiveness, and problem-solving — since the official truth insists that The Problem had been resolved, and so, everyone should just go along. Postwar Japanese from the end of the war to the late 60s were culturally creative, energetic, and engaged because they had to grapple with big questions of modernity, democracy, tradition, etc. Following the defeat and in the process of creating a new Japan from the rubbles, many questions had to be raised and resolved in order to create a new and better harmonization. But once such harmonization was finally achieved by the late 70s/early 80s — however imperfectly — , Japanese became content in their new harmonized-nation. If men like Kurosawa, Kobo Abe, Mishima, Nagisa Oshima, and Kenzaburo Oe grew up in a Japanese trying to harmonize itself to modernity, the later generations grew up in a
harmonized-nation where it was believed that Japan had achieved full harmony with modernity and that was that. That may account for the lack of creative and innovative spirit in Japan since the late 80s. This may account for the stagnation of Wasps too. At some point in American history, Wasps lost the creative/innovative spirit, and too many of them — especially the conservatives — just withdrew to their staid suburbia or small town communities. But even liberal wasps are a pretty dull bunch, more comfortable with do-goody truisms as found in most of the films of Robert Redford and John Sayles. Though conservatives made a lot of noise about small town values, small town is not where the wealth, power, and influence are in the modern era, especially when only 2% of Americans are engaged in agriculture — though, to be sure, if we include everyone in the food industry as part of ‘agriculture’, it’s much higher. The great corporations of America are in the cities, which also produce the bulk of culture. A small town artist isn’t going to win any attention and audiences among his or her people who tend to be conservative and narrow-minded or trashy & ass-tattooed. So, he or she will become anti-conservative and go to the big city and finally feel liberated and become liberal. The idea of small town values is especially quaint since the GOP, in its ‘free trade’ mania, supported policies like NAFTA that virtually opened the borders with Mexico. With factories closing, more once proud small town folks find themselves having to rely on government.)
In some ways, the harmonization of the high culture and the military cult in Japan was all the more remarkable since so much of it depended on feeling than ideas. Though Christianity and military culture were at odds in Europe, Europeans still managed to come up with elaborate intellectual and moral reasons as to why Christians had to fight the good fight. And though the pagan elements of Western culture were at odds with spiritual culture of Christianity rooted in the anti-idolatrous zealotry of Judaism, the West nevertheless arrived at a point where it was deemed natural to glorify the greatness of God through paganistic forms of expression — though Protestants came to disagree later. Christian Europeans were more likely to articulate, discuss, and explain why something was justified. Consider Michelangelo as played by Charlton Heston in AGONY AND ECSTASY: Though some of the Church authorities are shocked by the depiction of nude Adam being created by God-presented-as-an-old-man-with-white-beard, Michelangelo(like Moses in TEN COMMANDMENTS) explains why his work is a fitting tribute to the glory of God and all His creations. He puts his feelings into words, and even if it doesn’t make total sense, it makes some sense through the sheer magnetism and charisma of his artistic sensibility and vision. So, there was an I-did-it-my-way-and-this-is-why aspect to Western culture. The West tried to make sense of what it was doing, and so even if it didn’t make full sense, it made some sense, and that was sense enough, at least in those times. Even when the Church clung to the untenable notion of the Earth being the center of the universe, it pulled out all the rational models drawn from Ptolemy to argue why Galileo was wrong.

Such kind of open debate and discussion wasn’t generally a feature of Japanese culture — as it was deemed impolite for men to argue loudly/openly and deemed unthinkable for inferiors to challenge the will/wisdom of superiors — , and so the fusion of opposites took place in Japan more at the level of feeling than articulated rhetoric/rationality. As for the Confucian tradition, though its scholars discussed the correctness of things, they tended to be far more dogmatic and traditional-criteria-bound than individually adventurous in their ideas. It was less a philosophical inquiry advanced/expanded by intellectual equals and more a philosophical lesson to be handed down from teacher to student. If Western thinkers — even within the Church — thought as individuals, Eastern thinkers thought as faceless carriers of tradition; this was also true of the Brahmin of India. They saw themselves as members of a caste who received and passed down timeless wisdom than as thinkers with independent minds.

Perhaps, part of the reason for the cultural differences between the East and the West was that in both the Hellenic and Hebraic view, each individual has his own soul, something that belongs to him alone and is immutable; it is independent from the souls/identities of others; it is born, it lives, it dies, and it retains its identity even in the afterlife. So, even after the Greek heroes die and go the underworld, they retain their individual identities. In contrast, the Buddhist view posits that the soul passes through person to person to animal to animal to person to animal to person and so on. Thus, each person is a vessel through which the soul passes through than an individual with a distinct and independent soul. Such mind-set — also pervasive in Taoism — could have affected even secular ideas and culture of East Asia, whereby culture was seen less as something created by talented individuals than as a tradition that passed down through the ages, whereby the true role of thinkers and artists were to be ego-less vessels of the tradition than individual agents trying to challenge or revolutionize it. (Confucianism isn’t as mystical as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, but its emphasis on ancestor worship encouraged the Chinese to see their lives as part of a continuum of bloodlines than as individualities. Thus, each person’s main duty was not to discover or establish the self but to venerate and carry on the spirit of one’s ancestors. Jews were greatly into tradition and ancestry, but they didn’t practice ancestor worship as only God could be worshiped. Thus, Jews were mindful of where they’d come from without being overly slavish to it.) But of course, there were great artists in China and Japan who made huge contributions and essentially changed the direction of the culture as a whole. Even so, they were generally not celebrated for their individuality or eccentricity but honored for their ‘best’ adherence to traditional ideals. Thus, even great changes in culture came to be seen as serving a tradition. Even when it came to the great man Confucius himself, Chinese revered him less as an original thinker with new ideas but as a man who set down rules that were worthy of veneration as an everlasting tradition; and Confucius himself said he looked to the past — the supposed Golden Age of China where peace and wisdom ruled the land — to formulate his moral principles.

Of course, by the standards of modernity, much the same could be said of most of Western history and culture. The ‘modernist’ sensibility simply didn’t exist in the past, and even as late as the early 20th century, many Europeans were shocked by cultural changes, which is why Igor Stravinsky’s RITE OF SPRING infuriated many in the audience. Even so, the idea of the GREAT thinker and GREAT artist has been more a feature of Western thought than Eastern thought. And Great Western thinkers and writers were admired not only for having left behind something that withstood the test of time but something unique and original, even if full recognition may have eluded the thinker/artist in his own lifetime. And though both Buddhism and Christianity were great universal religions, the former was self-negating whereas the latter was self-affirming. Buddha taught people to withdraw from the world whereas Jesus taught people to live in the world, suffer its agonies, and triumph with one’s spirit over the flesh. Because the harmony of the Japanese Way was never really rationalized or articulated but achieved through feeling, expression, manners, and shared signals, the idea of Japanese-ness remained elusive — and this may be why Japanese may fear massive immigration more than most people. The West having come to define itself by values, ideals, and concepts, the idea is that even if France or Britain were to fill up with Third World masses, as long as the newcomers embrace French or British ideals and values, French or British civilization would carry on; and since America is now defined by ‘gay marriage’, as long as new immigrants embrace ‘gay marriage’, they are partaking in Americanism; Japaneseness has no such clear ideological formulations, and so it has meaning only amongst the Japanese. So, if Japan were to have a lot of immigrants, they would have no way to become Japanese, and Japanese would feel uncomfortable for non-Japanese could never understand the proper sense of Japaneseness.
Though people of most cultures feel that they cannot be completely understood by outsiders, this sense has been especially acute among the Japanese. Take the scene in SHOGUN where Mariko(the woman hired to teach English to the foreigner) speaks two phrases that sound the same to Blackthorne/Anjinsan(Richard Chamberlain), but they are supposed to have profoundly different meanings. Notice how a samurai could be polite and kind but then suddenly pull out his sword and chop off someone’s head. Notice how a Japanese guy could be gently sipping tea and writing haiku and then go off to ruthlessly wipe out an entire village or slit open his belly.
All cultures have strange stuff, but the Japanese took it to a whole new level — and without fully articulating the WHY. In MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE, Yonoi says to Lawrence that the latter must die for some sense of honor that makes little sense to Lawrence(and Lawrence is supposed to be something of an expert on the Japanese). If you found yourself among a bunch of Zulu savages or Mongol barbarians, you might find much of their culture and behavior repulsive, but you would still understand the gist of it: Negroes act like savages because they are savage, and Mongols act like barbarians because they are barbaric. But Japan in the opening episode of SHOGUN seems really weird because it seems, at once, to be highly cultured and well-mannered AND psychotically sadistic and pathologically ruthless. The problem wasn’t ruthlessness per se. One could argue that the British too were like the Japanese in a way. A highly cultured and refined people but capable of ruthless action in battle. Even so, there was a purposefulness and proportionality to British ruthlessness. They wanted to dominate the world, and so they had to shoot a whole bunch of savages or barbarians from time to time to keep things in order. There was a rational, practical, and utilitarian aspect to British violence. It could be bloody and extreme at times, but it doesn’t strike us as particularly psychotic or pathological. It was a hoity-toity version of ‘ya gotta do what ya gotta do’. (British could do something stupid like the Charge of the Light Brigade, but even that could be understood within the context of warrior duty and honor.) Also, the British developed an elaborate legal system that better articulated the issues of right and wrong — initially between kings and noblemen and among noblemen — , but some of the ‘rights’ came to trickle/filter down to the masses as well. (It’s amusing how leftists, ‘people of color’, and feminists always bitch about ‘white male privilege’, i.e. in the past, rich white males enjoyed rights and privileges denied to others, etc. But this makes moral sense ONLY IF white males had taken away those rights and privileges from others who had them in the first place. The fact is they did not. The concept of such rights and privileges didn’t exist in the non-Western world where slavery and much worse forms of oppression were practiced. Rich white males INVENTED the concept of rights and liberties, and since they invented it first, they owned and applied it to themselves first, and it took time for those rights and liberties to spread to others — thanks to the commitment of conscientious white males figures who wanted to improve the lot of stupid ‘coons’, ‘niggers’, ‘wogs’, ‘chinks’, and others around the world; indeed, in many cases, white males had to force non-white peoples to end stuff like widow-burning, human sacrifice, chattel slavery, and child-marriage. It’s like a fire doesn’t start all over at once. It starts from a spot and then spreads out. Similarly, rich white males had to first invent the concept of rights and individual liberties and practice/experiment it amongst themselves first. It’s like Jews had God for themselves before a Jew like Jesus came along and said something the line of, “If our God is the one and only God and so great, we must share it with the rest of humanity.” So, should we blame the Jews for hogging God for themselves? Maybe they did, but it was only natural since they created the monotheistic God in the first place. And are things any different today? Don’t the smartest kids go to places like Harvard and Yale and enjoy rights and privileges of elite education out of reach to most people? Aren’t they ‘more equal’ than the rest of us? And when they invent something great — like Facebook by Zuckerberg — , doesn’t it spread around and trickle down to the rest of us? The fact is rich white males NEVER TOOK AWAY the rights and liberties of non-whites since non-whites never had any to begin with. Blacks were ugabuga jungle/steppe savages in Africa chucking spears at one another; they enslaved one another and sold other blacks to whites; it was whites who later freed slaves and ended slavery, not black Africans who had to be forced to end slavery by white imperialists. So, even though rich white males enjoyed their inventions — political freedom, rights, and privileges — first amongst themselves, this was only natural since they created them in the first place. It’s like patents. Those who invent stuff enjoy them and their fruits before others do. Now, one can argue that rich white males should have done more to spread their inventions to others faster, but the fact remains that they were the ones who came up with the new ideas and the new ways to liberate and advance all of mankind. Take the American space program. Americans used it to go to the moon. Now, one could argue that the American space program was ‘racist’ and ‘nationalist’ because it didn’t share the technology with the rest of the world and didn’t take people from every nation to the moon along with Neil Armstrong. But could America have had a viable space program if it had to be ‘shared’ with all the world from the beginning? Similarly, would there have been any incentive for rich white males to come up with new ideas if they couldn’t enjoy and gain advantage from them first? Of course not. So, all this ‘bash rich white male’ bullshit is so lame. If it weren’t for rich white males in key Western nations, the entire world would be filled with savagery, barbarism, slavery, and nuttiness. And indeed, the West began to falter when white males lost their confidence and handed power to a bunch of a**hole Jews, bitchy feminists, jigger-jiving Negroes, Asian drone leftist puppets, and silly fruiters.) England was the land pf Shakespeare, and so we know that the English, like the Ancient Greeks, liked to talk and figure things out. Take the scene in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL when King Arthur rides into some village and talks about how he became king. Instead of just taking his word for it, a commoner starts a debate, and this kind of mentality became the basis of Shakespeare and everything else. And notice that Arthur, unlike the samurai, didn’t chop off the peasant’s head.

There is no equivalent of ‘to be or not to be’ in Japanese culture. A Japanese lives or dies, does or doesn’t do, but he doesn’t think about it. He must know by feeling when/how to live or die, what to do or not to do. Traditionally, if a Japanese didn’t live right, the thing was to die right, which may explain why the great majority of famous Japanese novelists killed themselves. Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is NO try.” The Japanese way was, “Live or live not. There is no think.” However, the suppression of thought didn’t mean Japanese should just act crazy like Negroes or live dirty like Gypsies. Japanese society went a long way to cultivate and instill the proper feeling/spirit within the heart of Japanese, so much so that a Japanese never had to think what he must do. He knew how he must live, when he must act, and when he had to slit his belly. Perhaps no other culture was as sophisticatedly anti-thought.
The most famous kind of Japanese theatre was Noh, which was related to Kabuki, and these semi-musical plays were more about feelings-expressed-through-moods than feelings-expressed-through-ideas-and-argument. And so, the Japanese didn’t develop a way to ‘rationally’ explore or make sense of their culture. And yet, Japanese culture nevertheless reached great heights of ingenuity and refinement due to the interesting ‘harmonization’ of high culture and military culture. The ‘harmonization’ of cultural refinement and martial discipline may have had the effect of aestheticizing violence into a cult and disciplining culture into a form of purity. It allowed for a unique and special kind of culture but also resulted in a lack of something vitally human. Perhaps, there’s a genetic component to this, with continental Asia having served as a giant filter for the people who eventually settled and multiplied in Japan. Though most Chinese are said to belong to the Han stock, there are many different kinds of Chinese; the differences between northern Chinese and southern Chinese may be more pronounced than between northern Europeans and southern Europeans in some ways. Though there are variations among the Japanese — not least because of the earlier presence of the Ainu peoples — , Japanese tend to be genetically more homogeneous than Chinese or Mongols.
Due to the genetically purifying/filtering process of migration(involving a band of continental Asians moving to the island that came to be Japan), the Japanese might have lacked for certain genes that are useful in other ways. (Suppose the continent of Asia has all sorts of genes: ‘chinky’, ‘gooky’, ‘jappy’, ‘mongoly’, ‘hannie’, ‘cantony’, etc. What might have happened is a bunch of continental Asians with ‘jappy’ genes moved to Japan, and so Japan became a land of ‘jappy’ people lacking in other kinds of continental Asian genes.) Thus, Japanese tend to be very good at certain things — of ‘jappish’ nature — while totally sucking at other things. This is why Jews, whose blood is more mixed, tend to be more versatile and creative than both East Asians and white Europeans. Jews got some wily Semitic genes and some sober European genes. It could be that Japanese, even more so than most East Asians, tend to have more ‘filtered’ genes, and this biological element of Japanese personality might have made the Japanese more prone to prefer the process of cultural filtration as well. I mean why else would so many Japanese want to be — and mate with — cartoon characters? What other people on Earth wants to be Pikachu, Dragonball Z, or Sailor Moon? There is something ‘pure’ about cartoon characters in that they are depicted by the essence of their features — they are like ultra-airbrushed hygienic beings where only the most appealing features have been kept while all else has been weeded out. And this kind of sensibility could be seen in the ‘minimalist’ or ‘essentialist’ aesthetic all throughout Japanese history. You can even see it in Japanese cooking. Notice how Japanese chefs go for the essence of the thing and leave all else out. Thus, Japanese food is very special but never quite satisfying. And Japanese beer has the essence of beer without really having the full taste of beer. And Japanese pizza is like the essence of pizza without the full cheesy-weesiness of pizza(though I don’t know why they add corn). And in a way, this was why Kurosawa was often criticized for not being truly Japanese. He went for full expression emotionally, dramatically, and expressively. Mifune in many Kurosawa films was like a Manchurian wolf let loose in Japan. Though Kurosawa used elements of Noh theater and the like, his main inspirations came from Russian literature and cinema(and early German cinema and Hollywood films). He liked the fullness of things as expressed in Russian culture. Of course, he was profoundly Japanese in many ways, but he was always more than Japanese. (Imamura, in his fullness of vision of life, was also atypical in terms of Japanese aesthetics. His most famous remark was he made films about the lower half of Japan and lower half of the human body. But one could say he was ‘more Japanese’ than Kurosawa — at least in the anthropological sense — in the way he closely observed the lower side of Japan as it really was. If Kurosawa tended to see Japan, high or low, through narrative, dramatic, and ethical lenses borrowed from abroad — Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, popular novelists like Ed McBain, John Ford movies, neo-realist European cinema of postwar period, etc. — , Imamura fixed his eyes on the Japanese as he found them.)
The reason for the rise of Yasujiro Ozu’s reputation vis-a-vis Kurosawa(and even Mizoguchi — at least amongst serious academics — , who really should be recognized as Japan’s greatest director, but his only film in the Sight & Sound Top 50 is UGETSU at #50 while a worthless stinker like JEANNE DIELMAN is at #34) is somewhat paradoxical in our globalized world. Though globalists welcome the prospect of the entire world coming together, they also worry that unique/authentic cultures are being lost in the process, and so what is deemed ‘more authentic’ may be valued more highly. So, even though Kurosawa was more internationalist, he may be less preferred by globalist SWPL types for that very reason. Also, the global elites, even as they drive all of humanity together, don’t wanna be part of the unwashed masses; they wanna put themselves above it. Since Kurosawa has become too much of global brand — like Godzilla — , it is less culturally satisfying for the narcissistic global elite’s ego to say it loves the films of Kurosawa. Besides, Kurosawa’s films are fun and accessible even to people who don’t care about ‘art cinema’. But if one says he or she prefers Ozu, it signifies that he or she knows what is authentically Japanese in our homogenizing globalist world and also that he or she appreciates the ‘finer’ expressions of cinema than the ‘loud and obvious’ things one finds in Kurosawa’s films. A similar sensibility may explain why MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA edged out POTEMKIN. Anyone can ‘get’ POTEMKIN even without knowing anything about the theory of montage — it works as narrative or propaganda — whereas Vertov’s film would be baffling to people untrained in the theory of avant-garde cinema.
So, we may surmise the existence of three kinds of globalists. The unwashed morons around the world who eat Big Macs and listen to Lady Gaga. The ‘middle-brow’ globalists who go for David Lean and Akira Kurosawa. And the global cultural elites who go for Ozu, Vertov, and Akerman. Ozu and Vertov I can appreciate for their talents were undeniable, but Akerman is the worst. (Akerman’s high reputation, like that of Andy Warhol, is due to ‘associative greatness’ than ‘recognizable greatness’. Recognizable greatness is plain to see and/or hear. One can know little about art history and still recognize a work by Michelangelo or Boticelli as special. Or one could look at a the works of Picasso and still be intrigued, puzzled, and/or provoked. Even if one doesn’t ‘get it’ right away, one comes off with some emotional response that makes one want to know more. Someone who knows little about movies might not fully appreciate a film by Ozu or Vertov, but if he or she has any artistic sensibility, he or she would pick on something special. But what does one feel when he or she looks at a work by Warhol? Or Akerman? He or she feels NOTHING but boredom. So, why have Warhol and Akerman become such major figures in the world of art and cinema? Because a bunch of privileged ideologues with ‘radical’ agendas have made them so. Therefore, an impressionable young person approaches a Warhol painting with all the associative baggage of ‘greatness’ or ‘importance’. It could be some shitty painting of Campbell soup cans, BUT the impressionable young person has been told that Warhol’s name is associated with all the cool, hip, radical, and subversive conceits, and therefore, liking Warhol has become a status/cultural marker. If you don’t like or ‘get’ Warhol, it means you just don’t get it and you just don’t belong in this ‘world of global elites that are in-the-know’. In politics, being for ‘gay marriage’ has the same kind of marker. It determined whether you’re IN or OUT. If a smart young person was shown a work by Warhol or Akerman without the associative baggage, would he really think it’s great shakes? Would he think JEANNE DIELMAN is a great film? Of course not. But even before they’ve seen the stupid thing, all the ‘leading experts’ like Jonathan Rosenbaum, J. Hoberman, Dave Kehr, Fred Camper, Amy Taubin, Manny Farber, and others have said it is great, and by golly, who is a young nobody to doubt them? So, young people end up approaching such works expecting and feeling obligated to see greatness in them — and it flatters them to know that they are part of an elevated cultural minority because most people will never ‘get’ Warhol or Akerman. From the 50s to the 70s, there was a lot of ‘associative greatness’ attached to Bergman who stood for Art Cinema with a capital ‘A’, and so two of his films were in the top 10 in the 1972 Sight & Sight Poll. Though Bergman may have been overrated, greatness — or at least excellence — is plainly evident in many of his films. But there’s no way any intelligent or honest person can possibly find anything of worth in the works of Warhol or Akerman. Of course, there are many intelligent people who do champion their works, but they are being dishonest either with themselves or with others. As for unintelligent people who just wanna feel part of the ‘cultural elite’, they’ll just go along with anything that wins them pointers. If the Rosenbaums and Hobermans of the world told them that STARSHIP TROOPERS is brilliant satire, they’ll swallow that too. Just like ‘unpopular kids’ look up to and imitate ‘popular kids’ in highschool, the world of the so-called cultural elites operates in the same way. Of course, the kind of people who dominate discussion of arts & culture were not ‘popular kids’ in highschool, and so they’ve formed their identities based on resentful ‘subversion’, and so a movie like JEANNE DIELMAN is a perfect vehicle for their vengeful ‘radical’ egos — the ‘intellectual radical feminist Marxist’ film of choice for Tori Amos fans who think Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” is the greatest poem of all time. But then, all sorts of impressionable young people — many of them quite intelligent — filled with slavish respect and teacher’s-pettish admiration for ‘expert and leading critics’ swallow the swill whole hog. Some smart young people eventually develop their own individualities and grow out of it while others foolishly remained chained to the corrupt power of ‘associative greatness’. I don’t think most admirers of JEANNE DIELMAN really like the film. Most of them were surely introduced to the film through ‘leading critics’, and so when they watch the film, they aren’t so much seeing what is on the screen — which is plainly nothing — than seeing all the ideas and arguments attached or associated with Akerman’s cult status. One of the problems of current film culture is that Asians are taking over some of the spots formerly held by Jews. Now, there are plenty of smart Asians, but they tend to be drone-like and slavish, and most of them seem content to follow in the footsteps of Jews like Hoberman, Rosenbaum, and Taubin. Whatever one thinks of Jewish critics and intellectuals, they had the chutzpah to rebel against the status quo back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s and forge a new outlook on film. Sontag was remarkable in this regard. And this could be said for some gay critics too, like Robin Wood. But Asian-American intellectuals, though some may be intelligent, lack the guts to think their own thoughts and just spout the stuff already said by Jewish, white, and gay critics. They are diligently intelligently than inspired-intelligent as Jewish critics were. Just notice how they all agree with Hoberman and Rosenbaum that JEANNE DIELMAN is a great film. What a bunch of hive-like nerds.)
In the Old World, there was the nobility or noblemen. In our globalist order, there is the globility or globlemen, the neo-noblemen of our age. Though they officially espouse ‘equality’, globlemen really get a kick out of feeling superior to the rest of humanity. The globlemen in NY, London, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Mexico City, and etc. all belong to an elite global community, and the globlemen of each nation really look down on the vast majority of the people of their own nations — just like noblemen throughout Europe felt closer to one another than with the peoples of their own cultures/nations, e.g. a French noblemen had more in common with an Austrian noblemen than with the French masses. One exception were the Jews, and it remains to this day. Modern Jews will always feel closer to other Jews than to anyone else. Even a rich Jew cares more for poor Jews in Israel than for privileged non-Jews of his class.

Since globlemen are supposed to be ‘progressive’, they cannot be openly and honestly snobby like the noblemen of old. So, they look for things that are ostensibly ‘radical’ and ‘progressive’ but appeal mainly to members of the highly educated global elites. This way, they get to kill two birds with one stone: be an ‘egalitarian’ snob or a ‘radical’ elitist. Vertov and Akerman are perfectly useful for such purposes. Vertov was a communist filmmaker in the Soviet Union who supposedly made cinema for The People, but his avant garde works had no appeal to the masses. And Akerman is supposed to be some Jewish, lesbian, feminist, and Marxist something or the other, but clearly, the only sort of people who watch her movies are graduates of fancy colleges — and wanna-be’s who want to be thought of as ‘radical intellectuals’; if you can’t go to an Ivy League college, at least you can show off your cultural/intellectual pedigree by saying you dig Akerman. Though it doesn’t cost much for anyone to watch an Akerman or Vertov film — especially in our age of Netflix where even a toothless hillbilly can download movies from around the world — , we know full well that it takes a certain social/class upbringing to even develop a cultural taste for that sort of stuff. It’s no surprise that most so-called Marxists I’ve met in life were from privileged backgrounds. It’s amusing really. They mention names like ‘Gramsci’ to show that they’re with the People and on the side of Progress, but of course, ‘Gramsci’ is also a brand marker for the privileged elites, a way of saying they’re more intelligent, more intellectual, and got a fancier education than the slobs who don’t know nuttin’. It has become the equivalent of a gold crucifix necklace— Jesus, the champion of the poor folks, turned into a symbol of class privilege — by rich noblewomen of old. Thus, the miserable Akerman is really nothing more than a designer brand name. Of course, her films also offer a ‘spiritual’ element to the secular global elites. Her movies are boring, but that boringness could be taken for ‘purity’, indeed the kind of purity one finds in Church services where you wanna fall asleep but aren’t supposed to. In our age when educated folks no longer believe in God, the films of Akerman and later Godard serve as sabbath rituals for the radically-educated-and-privileged. Thus, JEANNE DIELMAN is, for some, a modern version of JEANNE D’ARC, indeed even profounder in certain ways in their silly minds. After all, one can respond to the story of JEANNE D’ARC emotionally and spiritually as well as intellectually, but JEANNE DIELMAN offers no emotional or spiritual release and thus its neo-puritanical kind of quasi-spirituality needs to be entirely intellectual or ‘radical’; and participating in this endeavor will surely imbue the devotees with a ‘profound’ sense of purpose and specialness. But for anyone with an honest pair of eyes and ears, Akerman’s films are the worst case of empress-has-no-clothes(and the insipid whore literally had no clothes in JE TU IL EL, forcing us to look at her lumpy fat-assed body while she munched on sugar from a brown bag for a full twenty minutes. In our crazy world, opposing ‘gay marriage’ means you suffer from a mental illness, indeed a ‘phobia’, but if you film your naked lumpy fat-assed body while you munch on sugar for twenty minutes, you are a GREAT ARTIST. This is what happens when Jews take over the culture of a nation.)

Anyway, the refined Heian element of Japanese culture made for a kind of thin-wall-iness. The Japanese psycho-social ideal was to be conscious of the walls and barriers without there having to be big thick walls saying ‘NO GO AREA’. Of course, recent Japan is another matter. If in old Japan, most people — stinking poor peasants — were kept in their place while only the higher classes trained in proper manners had a degree of ‘freedom’; in the new Japan, everyone — even unwashed masses, though, to be sure, Japanese are very mindful about washing — have access to all areas of Japan. Therefore, there seems to be an anxiety in Japan that the democratic masses, being less finely cultured than elites, need to be told at all times to ‘act properly’. According to the book DOGS & DEMONS: TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE OF JAPAN Alex Kerr details how there’s a sign in every public place and announcements/instructions blaring from public speakers all over Japan telling Japanese how to do the simplest things — like if you’re on an escalator, public speakers tell you to hold onto the handrail, etc. In ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, Henry Fonda’s character says to someone, “How can I trust someone who wears both belt and suspenders? He doesn’t even trust his own pants.” It’s no wonder Japan doesn’t trust the world outside Japan because it doesn’t even trust itself. There is a strong Culture of Trust in Japan, but its means and values have been enforced over the centuries paradoxically because of the lack of trust. Since those in power didn’t trust those below them, the powers-that-be instituted a culture of honor whereby if someone was found to have violated the trust, he must either slit his belly or have his head cut off. Thus, the Japanese Culture of Trust grew out of this fear/paranoia of distrust that came to be enforced psychologically as well as socially through a ruthless system of honor, shaming, ostracism, and fear. Japanese culture of trust wasn’t founded on positive goodwill but on negative suspicion-ism. A Chinese guy who broke his trust might lose his face. But in Japan, he could lose his head, and even if he kept his head, he could lose his pride since a samurai warrior without trust wasn’t a man — and though most Japanese were not samurai, the samurai honor system did come to shape the mind-set of much of Japan.

Ideally, a Japanese was expected to know his place and be mindful of his ‘space’ even without being told to and without obvious signs/barriers telling him what is and isn’t permissible. A properly brought-up Japanese should see walls even where there aren’t any. I recall reading about some American who served in a Japanese prison in the 1980s. He said one of the first things he was taught was to mind his space. Even in open space, he was strictly disciplined as to where he could go, what he could do, how he should stand, move, and walk. And this mindfulness of space and walls is not only horizontal but vertical. So, if a social inferior meets a social superior, the former must bow and keep his head low as if there’s a ceiling between him and the superior. In highschool, I recall being shown a documentary about Japan in ‘People and Cultures’ class: Two Japanese guys meet, and the ritual of bowing goes on forever, with each guy trying to out-bow the other guy. And bowing is like a daily ritual in Ozu’s films. Especially because the Japanese didn’t use chairs, they developed an interesting use of vertical space. In the West, most people sat on chairs, and so even socially superior folks weren’t necessarily positioned higher than social inferiors. The only way the superiors could really feel physically higher was to look down on the rabble from atop their horses — or live in fancy condos in downtown areas(as liberal Jews do) and look down on the rest of us.
But in Japan, in the presence of a superior, the social inferior might hit the ground and bow low. Or if an inferior entered a space where a superior happened to be sitting, the inferior would immediately bow down before the superior and try to sit in a manner that seemed humbler than the superior’s. HARAKIRI is memorable for its vertical use of space — how the mysterious ronin seated on the ground before the clan chieftain(who sits up high) gradually reverses their respective positions(at least psychologically) by revealing that he, a lowly masterless samurai, is actually more of a samurai than the top men of the clan.

Anyway, the strange thing about Japanese culture was that so much came to depend on pretending not to see what was seen, pretending not to hear what was heard. And the corollary to this was speaking in a way so as not to be heard and moving in a way so as not to be noticed. And this even applied to peeing, what with Japanese girls raised to believe that the only proper way to pee was to be not heard peeing. And if anyone heard them peeing, they were supposed to pretend they didn’t hear them pee — because if someone said he or she heard the pee, the woman whose pee was heard might, out of shame, drive a knife into her own neck. There’s a very touching movie called MACARTHUR’S CHILDREN by Masahiro Shinoda where a pretty young girl gets all angry and won’t talk to some boy because he overheard her peeing. And Japanese water-bills for office buildings tended to be high because office ladies kept on flushing while they peed to hide the peeing sound; this problem was finally fixed with the invention of an artificial flushing-sound machine for Japanese ladies’ rooms. (Some things about the Japanese are, of course, just plain crazy. I can understand why Japanese girls hide their mouths when they laugh because so many of them have crooked teeth, but the shame over peeing sound is just ludicrous. And maybe this was what Imamura was satirizing in WARM WATER UNDER A RED BRIDGE. Though the female groin-spewing in the movie is orgasmic than urinary, the sheer shameless celebration of it seems to imply that Japanese need to loosen up some of their inhibitions about natural bodily functions. Japanese culture is contradictory because it’s supposed to be in harmony with nature, because it says there’s no shame in nudity — and there’s also the worship of penis sculptures. But if Japanese seem to be openly accepting of natural FORMS, such as the nude body, they seem less accepting of natural PROCESSES, such as peeing. So, a Japanese women can bathe naked with men, but she must hide the sound of her peeing. In a way, female urination in Japan is like the Pee Ceremony. Just like the tea ceremony has to be done properly — and mostly in silence — , the pee ceremony requires a certain etiquette when the woman must ‘pour’ her pee in a way that doesn’t disturb the peace or peece. Japanese love the idea of control, and peeing is a natural process that tends to be ‘out of control’. When one pees, the liquid just spills out. Nudity is a more controllable kind of naturalness since the human form remains constant even in its nude form. But peeing is where the body lets go of its restraint and unloads the liquid. Thus, as a kind of ‘out of control’ act, it must be hidden to eyes and ears, especially if you’re a woman since women are supposed to be refined and such. Tea and Pee are both wet, but Japanese prefer a certain dryness. So, the tea ceremony is one of the driest ceremonies in the world though it culminates in the making, pouring, and sipping of liquid. And even though Japan is surrounded by oceans, even though water is a major component of Japanese gardens, and even though Japanese love to bathe, no people have controlled the use of water as much as the Japanese. So, Japanese bathtub is designed so that one must sit up inside — though the lack of living space is also a factor. And irrigation of water is almost like a science in the Japanese gardens. In the opening of MAKIOKA SISTERS by Kon Ichikawa, a male character praises a woman for eating without wetting her lips. The Japanese are among the most unnaturally natural people on Earth.) Anyway, because so many of the walls or barriers, physical and psychological, in Japan were thin or transparent but one had to pretend as though they were solid, it led to an acute kind of cultural neurosis. Even when the motives were pretty clear, one had to pretend ignorance of those motives. Take the Kurosawa film BAD SLEEP WELL. Surely, the lower executives who are pressured to serve as scapegoats — by committing suicide — must know(deep in their hearts) that the superiors are using them to save their own behinds, but the ‘wall of duty and honor’ forces the subordinates to pretend not to see the real motives and, instead, fall on their swords in the name of honor and obligation. And in IKIRU, the problem isn’t so much that the characters at the funeral don’t know why Watanabe the cancer victim did what he did but that they don’t want to know because the man’s actions disturbs their sense of order. Watanabe, as he had nothing to lose since his days were numbered, had sought to break through the invisible walls/barriers, touch real people and real reality and do something real. The reason why the men at the funeral are slow to catch onto this — and only with the aid of alcohol — is because their entire lives are committed to working within the invisible walls all around them. They know what should be done for the good of the community, but they know they’re not doing it and aren’t allowed to do it. And so, they carry on pretending not to know what needs to be done and continue to work without really doing anything because operating within the ‘proper social walls’ is more important to them than truth or genuine moral responsibility. Again, such problems exist in all societies, but the problem is acute especially in Japan because of the contradictions in the Japanese modes of acting and thinking.

The Japanese way is among the most precise and sharpest in the world, and indeed sharpness is one area where Heian fineness and samurai ruthlessness intersect. After all, a piece of paper, if fine enough, can cut as well as a knife. Thus, even the Japanese art of paper had the sharpness of a blade and even the Japanese art of swordplay had the lightness of paper. Ideally, a samurai handled his sword almost as if it were weightless. And Japanese have been known for the precision of their expressions and machines. Japanese language itself feels/sounds almost hard, linear, and angular in its design.
And yet, Japanese culture has also been an empire of lies, and indeed lying is an art form in Japan. But it’s a different kind of lying than found among Italians, Jews, and Negroes. Italians lie because it’s a habit, and they have few scruples if any; and they enjoy lying and practice it as a kind of festivity. Jews lie because they figure it’s a good way to fool dumb goyim; they also find it funny as hell. As for Negroes, you can’t expect too much from a people who pronounce ‘truth’ as ‘troof’. And as the character in COOLEY HIGH says, “I can lie and steal too good not to survive”, which is the Negro way in a nutshell.
While lying may be endemic in some cultures, people still know what is a lie and what isn’t. So, even though Negroes lie a lot, they’ll call out one other about the lying, with one Negro saying, “mothafuc*a, you is lyin’”, to which, “who you callin’ a liar, mothafuc*a, you da one who’s lyin’”, and so forth. And though Jewish lawyers lie endlessly, they are trying to catch the other guy in the lie. In Japan, lying is more of an official and collective culture, so much so that it’s less a matter of individual deception as a matter of shared experience and consensus. For example, most Japanese know that the officials lied about the Fukushima plants during the tsunami, but what prevails is the lie as an official truth from top to bottom. The shared lie is thought to be necessary for social harmony. (When the lie is too out-in-the-open and too-big-to-sweep-under-the-tatami-mat, Japanese prefer the scapegoat who takes the blame and falls on the sword than really getting down to the nitty gritty of who was responsible. Such dogged search for truth might be too disruptive to the social order.) Consider the movie GODZILLA, aka GOJIRA. When the giant sea lizard starts to smash the coastline of Japan, some official says maybe it should be kept a secret because it might upset or panic too many people. A society that tries to hide the existence of a 200 ft fire-breathing lizard has a real problem with the truth. (Though, to be sure, the Jewish-American media’s hiding of King-Kong-ish Negro rampages across America makes us wonder about America too. I mean, are all those attacks really perpetrated by ‘teens’ and ‘youths’? Is it Asian-Indian-American youths who are flash-mob-robbing stores?) In a social order where perfect harmony is important, lies may be preferable to truth if they maintain the peace and order. Japan may not be unique in this, but they are somewhat unique in having developed a society of Disciplined Deception. Usually, a society where lying is rife tends to fall apart — just look at Detroit, a city run and inhabited by Negroes who never tell the truth. But if most peoples lie for self-gain, Japanese also lie for the collective good; Japanese go along with the sacrificial lie. An Italian will lie to save his own skin, but the lower executives in BAD SLEEP WELL will accept blame for the lie for the good of the company. John Dean refused to fall on the sword for Nixon, but had he been Japanese, he likely would have.

Paradoxically, the search for perfect precision may lead to the mystique of deception. Nothing in the world is perfect — especially about humans — , and so, any society that seeks to create a perfect/precise order will discover that its vision of perfection isn’t consistent with reality, and therefore, lies must be told and maintained in order to sustain the illusion of perfection and harmony. This could be why Japanese women feel a need to maintain the ‘lie’ that their urination is silent. We saw this with communism too, which, in its striving for perfect truth and perfect order, in the end only sustained itself as an empire of lies. And this is true of the Hal computer in 2001. It thinks of itself as perfect and accurate/precise about everything, and so when it makes a mistake, it creates a web of lies in order to maintain its self-myth as a perfect machine. And notice how the clan in HARAKIRI is both committed to the true-and-pure samurai way and to the ruthless art of deception. It had forced a young ronin to commit harakiri to preserve the pure-and-true honor of the samurai, but when the members of the clan failed to live up to such pure principles themselves, all evidence of the clan’s imperfection was cleared and covered up. Thus, Japanese mania for perfect precision also paved the way for much obfuscation, and even today, Japan is the source of some of the most precise and reliable machines in the world but also the source of some of the worst lies. We can rely on Japanese machines but we cannot rely on the Japanese man.

To be sure, the culture of deception is prevalent all over the world, and today, America may actually be no better — and in some ways, even worse. Elites, in order to control the masses, have been lying since the beginning of time — not that the masses were any more committed to the truth. But ideally in the modern democratic order, the people — as especially represented by honest reformers, intellectuals, scholars, and journalists — are supposed to challenge the powers-that-be and the status quo. If there’s bullshit at the top, it must be called out, and the people must know the truth. Or at least that has been the ideal among Americans. In Japan, in contrast, the ideal even among the masses has been to participate in the official lie that unites the entire nation from top to bottom. Despite the social hierarchies, most Japanese have felt intimately united as one family-like people due to their cult of honor and manners. Indeed, even lower elements of society prefer this hierarchy than none at all because it gives them a firm sense of place in the social order. Even if they’re at the bottom, they are still part of the same cultural tree, which, to most Japanese, is preferable to being liberated leaves fallen from the tree. And Japan, for a long time, had never been conquered by another people — and even the victorious Americans tended to be magnanimous and returned the reins of power to the Japanese after seven years of occupation — , and so, this feeling of ‘one people and one nation’ became more deeply rooted among the Japanese. (In contrast, Greeks and Italians who’d been conquered by outside forces numerous times never developed a sense of togetherness as powerful and meaningful as that of the Japanese.) Therefore, even though the Japanese people don’t like being lied to by the elites, there’s not only more forgiveness but more understanding — that it’s all a family matter and some things are better hushed up than aired out in the public — and especially before foreigners — to the humiliation of all involved.
In contrast, Americans have gotten awful angry when they discovered they’d been lied to by the elites, whether it be the government or the business class, and so there was a very dynamic tradition of social and economic reform in America. American freedom also permitted much crookedness and corruption, but the American ideal has been to favor truth over lies. And even when the lie was maintained, it was in robust way in order to stoke the fires of American optimism. In THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, the newspaper editor says “when legend becomes fact, print the legend”, but his style of lying is different from that of the Japanese. He loudly admits it’s a lie, but it’s a lie that’s necessary for the good of the community. The Japanese way is more insidious for the Japanese don’t even admit it’s a necessary lie but pretend as if no lie has been told at all — for it would be ‘rude’ for anyone to admit to or accuse anyone of a ‘lie’, especially since it might offend another man’s honor and lead to his having to slit his belly. The price for shame and dishonor was so high in Japan that the Japanese, high and low, learned how to ‘gracefully’ sweep much BS under the tatami mat.

But America today is not America of yesteryear. Wasp Americans were dominant in the past but were also committed to social reform and betterment. They were also into self-criticism and open to criticism from others. Thus, America went from reform to reform. But since the late 80s, America increasingly fell under the power of Jews who are not self-critical and tolerate no criticism of Jewish power from other groups. Wasps may have been feared and admired by other groups, but they were not revered and worshiped, but today there is a kind of worship of Jews that makes it nearly blasphemous for anyone in government, media, or culture to speak honestly about Jewish power. This is something new in American politics. Wasps had been great, but they were not a sanctified people or race that everyone had to worship. But Jews are to be worshiped as a holy people despite the fact that American Jews are among the most hideous, vicious, vile, greedy, and corrupt people on Earth. In a way, Americans now worship Jews no less than Japanese once worshiped the Emperor. But the Emperor never had any real power whereas American Jews have tremendous power — indeed the greatest power ever held in the history of mankind. And thanks to sly machinations of Jews, blacks and gays have also been elevated to saint-people status. In reality, gays, contrary to the victimological narrative, are very privileged and powerful — way out of proportion to their numbers — , and much of their culture is corrupt and/or depraved. (Gays should really be called ‘poos’ since they go for fecal penetration. Our elite institutions are dominated by Jews and Poos. And it’s pooish men than lesbians who really hold much of the power in the homo community. Besides, lesbians are kinda like honorary men.) And blacks are, by far, the most bio-satanic race on Earth. Thus, in any healthy society, Jews, gays, and blacks need to be criticized, challenged, and scrutinized, but no such is allowed in America. Even the GOP is forced to show that it’s full of ‘diversity’ and that it just loves Negroes, Jews, and gays. American political history has been known for its separation of church and state, but the real danger today doesn’t come from religions but from the sacralization of entire groups. In a way, America today is a neo-theocracy(or neocracy) whose official religion is worship of Holy Jews, Magic Negroes, and Saint Gays. Any criticism of Jewish power or Zionism means you’re a spiritually vile ‘anti-Semite’, any discussion of black realities means you’re an eeeeeeeevil ‘racist’, and any true assessment of homosexuality — that ‘gay sexuality’ is essentially about foul fecal penetration among homos — means that you’re mentally and spiritually diseased with ‘homophobia’.
Jews are extremely powerful intellectually, financially, legally, and politically, but we have to pretend they are a holy and powerless people. Though liberal Jews — and most Jews are liberal — dump on white conservatives all the time, all white conservatives ever do is shower ALL Jews with praise. Though gays are corrupting our culture with their filthy radical agenda, we are supposed to pretend GAYS KNOW BEST(as an updated and perverted version of FATHER KNOWS BEST), and though blacks have taken over entire streets and go around using their superior muscle power to terrorize and beat up whites all over, we are supposed to believe that Morgan Freeman speaks with the voice of god and that a towering Negro the size of a mountain in GREEN MILE is just the most perfect angel in the whole wide world and wouldn’t even hurt a wittle white mouse. (I guess Michael Vick is white since he isn’t nice to animals.) Some conservative friend of mine told me how much he cried watching GREEN MILE. Boo hoo hoo. With such idiots, I really think the game is over. If Hollywood Jews can so easily manipulate white conservatives, what hope is there for the survival of the white race? Indeed, what passes for conservatism today is praising Thomas Sowell as the greatest thinker of all time, peeing in one’s pants while watching BLIND SIDE(whose message ‘save your white soul by adopting a giant Negro so he can play football’), and George W. Bush telling the world that the worst moment of his presidency was when Kanye West accused him of not liking black people. With white conservatives like these, who needs white liberals?
Anyway, Jews want it that way because, as the new elite permanently entrenched at the top, they don’t want to be challenged by anybody in any way. Jews not only want white Americans to worship Jews but worship the god of diversity in the mistaken belief that ‘diversity’ is wonderful for all of us. Little do white Americans know that Jews really wanna increase non-white diversity in order to pit one bunch of goyim against another. If it hadn’t been for the melting pot ideal that turned most white ethnics into Anglo-Americanized whites, Jews may not be so eager to increase the diversity of America(as Jews could have pitted the various white ethnic groups against one another), but now, Jews feel that only non-whites could be relied upon to check white power. Prior to the 60s, most white ethnics belonged to the Democratic Party, but ever since they climbed the social ranks and/or became alarmed by black crime/violence and 60s-style radical politics, many of them turned to the GOP, handing the presidency to Republicans from 1968 to 1992 except between 1976 to 1980. Since white ethnics disappointed the Jews by turning conservative and/or Republican — and since Southern whites also turned to the GOP — , Jews figured that the ONLY group that could be relied upon to never merge with the white community were blacks and Hispanics(which is why even white Hispanics are encouraged to see themselves as ‘people of color’, but then, to be sure, white Hispanics arrive in the US with a huge chip on their shoulders since Anglo-America achieved so much more than Latin America. Jews understand, especially from surveying the 20th century that blood-and-culture trumps politics and ideas/ideology. In the end, the core basis and motivation of power remains racial-ethnic-cultural than ideological and political. Leftist universalist Jews eventually became Zionists. Communist Russians returned to Russian nationalism. Communist Chinese reverted to Chinese nationalism, as did the Vietnamese communists. It is nationalism that still props up the system in Cuba. And Hugo Chavez is more a mulatto-mestizo nationalist than a Marxist ideologue. And, the so-called Left is divided along ethnic and sexual-orientation lines, more a coalition of various interests than a unified front of yesterday when it had been for the Workers of the World. So, an ideologically leftist nation can turn into an ideologically rightist nation. Ideology is never permanent. So, if majority white America were pro-Jewish and liberal today, there’s no guarantee that it will always remain so forever. Therefore, Jews know better than to rely only on ideology because what happened to Jews in Russia can happen here; at one time, Jewish communists were on the top, but then, Jews came under great suspicion. Therefore, Jews feel that the only way to secure their power is to increase ethnic and racial diversity. Since ethnic/racial realities are permanent and ineradicable, an America that is no longer majority white but has many non- or even anti-white groups will permanently restrain white power if most white people were to turn right-wing, race-ist, and anti-Jewish. And it’d be even better for Jews if a lot of whites were to become mulatto-ized or mestizo-ized since a half-black white person or half-Mexican white person will no longer feel white and stand up for white power. A white person can go from leftist ideology to rightist ideology, but a black man or a Mexican can never take up white power ideology. And a mulatto or mestizo will never fight for white power, nor will the ever-dwindling pro-white demography welcome them. There is permanence in the demographic changes Jews have engineered in America. That is what ‘diversity’ is really about, a means to dilute white identity and white power. In a way, illegal immigration is useful to Jews as a metaphor, especially as pertaining to sexuality. Jews, the masters of psychology, see in the white man’s opposition to illegal immigration his resistance to race-mixing, especially of the interracist kind involving black males and white females. Though immigration is about movement across territories, there is an element of ‘penetration’ inherent in the meaning. In a way, there is an element of ‘war’ in immigration, i.e. when immigration happens on a large scale, it becomes a case of another people penetrating or fuc*ing your motherland and taking over. That’s what happened to Kosovo, once the heartland of Serbians but lost forever to Muslim Albanians due to massive demographic invasion. And Palestinians lost Palestine to the Jews in the same way. Invasive wars are often cases of Instant Immigration — like Nazi war on Russia — , and invasive immigrations are essentially gradual wars of conquest. Thus, arrivals of whites gradually led to the displacement of American Indians off their ancestral lands. It wasn’t seen as war because it didn’t happen overnight. And the massive influx of Mexicans into the Southwest is leading to a demographic takeover, especially with whites fleeing California in record numbers. Massive displacement of peoples can also happen within national borders, as with the case of White Flight, where white people flee from tougher and more aggressive blacks of criminal and bullying bent. Of course, if you have the money, you can wage a Price War on the poor, which is what Jews, gays, and affluent whites do against blacks through gentric cleansing, where neighborhoods are gentrified with rising real estate costs that drive out blacks and Hispanics who can’t afford the rent or purchasing price; but most white people are neither affluent nor privileged, and so, the strategy of gentric cleansing is beyond them; instead, they must bear the brunt of another war called Section 8 Housing where the blacks pushed out of the big cities gentrified by Jews, gays, and affluent liberal whites are relocated in their middle class or working class neighborhoods. Anyway, the notion of ‘illegal immigration’ implies that an alien group is penetrating your motherland, your wifeland, your daughterland. It implies that America mainly belongs to the white majority, and therefore, whites should decide who should come to the US, the land of Lady Liberty. But Jews have turned the iconic Statue of Liberty into a symbol of open immigration. Jews have turned the Statue of Liberty into a whore who will spread her legs to all men of all races. She is no more than Marilyn Monroe, the sexual plaything of Jews, and Mudonna, the posterwoman of white girl as mudshark whose poon is open to all, especially Africans. In other words, Jews are saying white people have no special claim to the US, and by implication, white men have no special claim on white women. America is to be had by all, just as white women are to be had by all. Radical feminism has both an individualist and collectivist streak. The individual streak tells white girls not to see themselves as part of a race, part of their family, and part of their clan or tribe but as individuals with no fixed loyalties but for material and sexual pleasure, ala SEX AND THE CITY. So, if she wants to be a whore to Jewish men or black men, that’s just great. But once such ‘individualities’ are created, radical feminists herd them into a unified collective against evil white patriarchy. In other words, white girls, in the name of individualism, should not feel collectively a part of the white community, BUT they must collectively feel a part of the ‘progressive’ community in alliance with blacks, illegals, Jews, and gays against evil white males, including their fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons. Indeed, white girls have been brainwashed to choose as husbands only those white males with dorky SWPL credentials and to raise their sons as ball-less politically correct dweebs whose first words out of their mouths are ‘gay marriage good’ and ‘MLK my god’. Jews understand the psychological implications of all thought processes. Thus, they not only wanna suppress ‘hate speech’ but ‘hate habits’. Any attitude or habit on part of whites that prefer the view of ‘mine’ and ‘our’ is to be attacked, mocked, and purged. Thus, whatever the white race has must be ‘shared’ by all. Jews no longer believe in communism — at least when it comes to Jewish power, privilege, and property — , but they believe in a kind of radical socialism to be used against all facets of white pride, property, positions, power, pussy, etc. Thus, whites have no special claim to anything. Their lands are for Africans, Muslims, and illegal Mexicans to penetrate and take. Their daughters are for African and Jewish puds. And, it’s gotten to the point where white male is seen by many white females as the artificial barrier between themselves and black males. When white males and white females lived in white nations, it seemed natural that white females should put out to white males since females are supposed to sexually surrender to stronger males. That is the NATURAL way. So, white male and white female sexual union was the most natural thing in Europe and America of old. But the dynamic changes when a lot of black males are around. If the law of nature is ‘strongest/toughest males get the best pussy’ and ‘girls surrender to the strongest/toughest males’, then white girls wanna put out to black males. Since white males and white power have stood as an obstacle between black males and white females — especially in the American South in the past — , white males are seen as not only having committed a crime against social justice but natural law. Through ‘racist’ laws, the tougher and more masterful black males were kept ‘in their place’. And through white male power, a wall had been erected between black studs and white women who were secretly craving for black muscle and cocks. This is why Jews and feminists love Jack Johnson. He knocked down the barrier of white male dorks and conquered white pussy that was only too willing to be conquered by the studly Negro. He broke down the anti-‘illegal immigration’ white wall between the black pud and white pussy. The law of nature isn’t so much ‘females go for males’ but ‘females go for top males’, which is why Asian women prefer bigger and pudlier Jewish guys to dorky Asian guys in college campuses. Amy Chua didn’t marry an Asian guy because she wanted a big fat Jewish cock. If top males of a society are white, women go for white males. But if the top males of a society are blacks—physically—and Jews—financially—, then white women will become like Marilyn Monroe the sucker of Jewish cocks or Mudonna the sucker of black cocks. But most white boys simply don’t understand what is really going on and what the Jews are really doing to them. They need to think in terms of ‘Illegal Immigration as a Metaphor’, i.e. as related to the notion of ‘illegal penetration’. White motherland in Europe is being ravaged/penetrated by Globalist Zionists, African thugs, and Muslim barbarians. Meanwhile, white males are castrated ‘faggoty’ white boys who do nothing about it because they’re afraid of being called ‘racist’. Even Alt Right dweebs would rather pontificate about Nietzsche than face dire realities. Hideous Jews are loving it.) There’s also been a sea change in the way Jews think about power and politics in America. For much of the 20th century, Jewish-Americans were famous for challenging elite power, questioning mainstream truisms, and stirring up controversies. But consider the significance of Spielberg’s CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. Though not a political movie in the strict sense, it offers a glimpse in the shift of the Jewish view of elites and higher-alien powers(alien/nomadic = Jewish). Though the government initially seems to obstruct the people from accessing the truth, it turns out that the government is really run by wonderful, intelligent, and responsible people who are keeping most people away for the higher good of mankind. Such neo-elitism is also to be found in CONTACT based on the Carl Sagan novel. Masses are dummies and unfit to make contact with higher powers. Also, it seems as though the higher alien powers rigged the game so that ONLY THE BEST AMONG MANKIND would be able to figure out the clues leading to the eventual ‘close encounter’; and the BEST of humanity happen to be JEWS! Among the elite scientists are two Jews: a French Jew played by Francois Truffaut and an American Jew played by Bob Balaban. And of all the Americans in a nation where Jews make up only 2% of the entire population, the higher aliens have picked a pushy Jew(Richard Dreyfus) to be the ‘chosen one’. That the space aliens favor an underdog Jew to establishment Jews to be their ‘chosen one’ may signal how much progress poor immigrant Jews had made in America. In a way, thanks to their dogged insistence and pushiness, it seems as though formerly underdog Jews eventually superceded even cultured/genteel establishment Jews who’d strove to enter elite wasp society. And the space aliens themselves are like space Jews who favor Earthling Jews over Earthling goyim. And if German gentiles used trains to send Jews to die in concentration camps, the US government is transporting the dumb goyim out of town to clear the territory so that Earthling Jews can have their special conference with space Jews. And as if in tribute to Al Jolson, both sides communicate by some ‘music’ that sounds like a spaced-out version of Jazz.
If CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND is really about the close encounters of the Jewish kind, its opposite is the remake of WAR OF THE WORLDS, which is about the dark heart of goyim. If CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is about Earth Jews meeting Space Jews, WAR OF THE WORLDS is about the Earth goy being reminded to reject/repress/hate his own dark goy soul. Tom Cruise plays a typical blue collar working class white guy. He’s obviously troubled by globalism that has economically undermined the interests of his class. Though seemingly likable on the outside, he’s simmering with dark goy rage against the global forces that are undermining his pride as white working class patriot American. The strange thing about the invaders in WAR OF THE WORLDS is that they emerge from the ground unlike the Jewish aliens of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS who come from above. What do Jews fear most about white goyim? The ideology of BLOOD-AND-SOIL. So, the evil invaders of WAR OF THE WORLDS emerge from the very dark soil of America and they lust after blood. Thus, the invaders of WAR OF THE WORLDS serve as a metaphor for the ‘racist-nationalist’ demon inside every white goy soul. Thus, Tom Cruise’s character’s struggling for survival against these invaders is like him struggling with his own dark goy soul that seeks to emerge and do a lot of harm in the name of blood-and-soil in a world overtaken by Jewish globalism. Though America’s involvement in Europe during WWII is seen by most Americans as a war between two nations — America vs. Germany — , Jews don’t necessarily see it that way. Jews see it as racial civil war among whites; a civil war between the good soul and the evil soul. According to Jews, both white America and white Germany had both the good soul and the bad soul. The good souls were those on the side of rationalism, cosmopolitanism, liberalism, and universalism. The bad souls were those on the side of nationalism, particularism, tribalism, and blood-and-soil-ism. In Germany, the good souls could have won, and in the US, the bad souls — such as those of Henry Ford and other ‘anti-Semites’ and ‘racists’ — could have won. There was no guarantee that Germany would be ruled by anti-Semites and that US would be ruled by pro-Semites. Both Hitler and FDR came to power in the same year, and both resorted to ‘radical’ measures during hard times; and in some ways, Hitler’s economic policies and FDR’s New Deal had much in common. So, someone like Hitler could have come to power in the US and someone like FDR could have come to power in Germany. Therefore, Jews don’t take it for granted that America is automatically a good nation and friendly toward Jews. Jews also remember that had it not been for Pearl Harbor, US might never have entered WWII; Jews remember that the majority of white Americans didn’t want to fight the Germans — and many such as Charles Lindbergh and his followers sympathized with Germans. And this fear of the dark soul of America surfaced not long ago in Philip Roth’s novel PLOT AGAINST AMERICA that imagines ‘what if Charles Lindbergh had become president?’ Thus, Jews don’t see WWII as good America vs evil Germany. Jews see both America and Germany as having elements of both good and evil, and it just so happened that America happened to be on the good side while Germany happened to be on the bad side. Jews like Roth believe that someone like Lindbergh COULD have won in the 30s or 40s and forged an alliance with Nazi Germany, and then, the history of the world would have been different and Jews wouldn’t become the masters of the world that they became. Furthermore, Jews don’t even trust whites with ‘good souls’ for all white people are seen as ‘subconsciously racist’ and ‘potential anti-Semites’. After all, Germany had been one of the lesser antisemitic nations at the beginning of the 20th century — France was more notorious for Jew-hatred — , and for a time, it seemed like the German people would NEVER elect someone like Hitler into power. But it happened. Indeed, even a good number of communist Germans eventually switched sides and joined up with the Nazis. Jews fear that economic anxiety among white Americans in the globalizing world might unleash the same kind of rage that led to the rise of Hitler. And so, WAR OF THE WORLDS has been skillfully made by Spielberg to subliminally send a message to white goyim that they are their own worst enemy, i.e. the real evil lurks in their dark white hearts, and if this evil were to break out, it will destroy the world just like Nazism did. So, keep the blood-and-soil rage buried deep within the white heart.
If wonderful space Jews and wonderful Earthling Jews have a love-fest in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, the angry blue-collar white guy in WAR OF THE WORLDS learns to distrust everything — his nation, his people(who go wild and try to rob him), and another goy whom he kills in order to save himself and his own kids. And how do the invaders finally die out? Their ‘pure blood’ becomes infected by the wonderfully diverse blood of humanity. (But if human germs could infect the invaders and wipe them out, couldn’t invaders’ germs infect humans and wipe humans out? In the case of the Americas, it was the germs of the invaders that infected the blood of natives who ended up dying by the bushel.)
Though Spielberg is regarded by many as a director of simple-minded movies appealing to simple emotions, there’s really nothing simple-minded about Spielberg and what he’s up to. His movies may come across as ‘simple-minded’, but they’ve been carefully designed and programmed to manipulate and control us. So, while they are simple-minded on the surface, a lot of complex thinking and calculation have gone into them so that they’ll turn the masses of goyim into obedient bunch of sheep that Spielberg(and other members of the Jewish elites) want us to be. It’s like dog-training may look simple with the commands ‘sit’, ‘fetch’, ‘roll over’, ‘gimme paw’, and ‘good doggy’, but professional dog-trainers know the complex psychology behind the art, science, and methodology of dog training. So, Spielberg’s movies are simple-minded on the surface, but the mechanism inside them are superbly complex. It’s like the kid in A.I. comes across as a simple-hearted innocent child but is actually the creation of highly intelligent scientific geniuses. The kid’s ‘innocence’ is actually designed, programmed, and manufactured. Similarly, we may enjoy a lot of Spielberg’s films as children’s movies, escapist fantasies, or earnest moral dramas, but they are all essentially mind-control operations to tame and turn us goyim into Jew-loving, Jew-hugging, and Jew-obeying sheep. Though one watches SCHINDLER’S LIST feeling sympathy for all those ‘helpless’ Jews, one leaves the theater with his or her soul owned by the powerful Jews. If Saul(who became Paul) propagated the narrative of the helpless Jesus in order to manipulate goyim to worship Him, Spielberg(who should be called spielmeister) is a propagator of sounds and images that make us worship the Jew.
Spielberg also makes us identify with Jews to some extent. The kid in A.I. doesn’t look Jewish and isn’t Jewish, but he suffers like a Jewish kid during the Holocaust. Thus, goy kids watching A.I. come to identify with Jews facing extermination. And notice that the child of the couple looks kinda like a young Hitler, kinda Damien(OMEN)-like. There is no doubt that Spielberg is one of the greatest cinematic masters in history and possibly the most gifted filmmaker since the 1970s. He’s not an artist if ‘artist’ is defined as courageous seeker of truth; Scorsese and Imamura are real artists in that sense. Spielberg is essentially a fabulist, propagandist, advertiser, and manipulator, and for that reason, it would be wrong to see him as an American-as-apple-pie entertainer whose works are diametrically opposed to the radical ideologues of Soviet Cinema such as Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov. In his own way, Spielberg is no less an ideological propagandist, and indeed, he’s far more dangerous for the fact that he’s considered by so many white Americans as the essence of what America is all about. This isn’t to say that Spielberg is a total snake and doesn’t believe in the movies he makes. I believe he has a genuine love for Americana, Norman-Rockwell-isms, John-Ford-isms, and the like. But all said and done, he’s very mindful of his Jewishness and his Jewish interests. Though he’s said over the yrs that he only became truly conscious of his Jewishness later in life, it’s all just a crock. He’s been thinking Jewishly from the beginning. Pauline Kael understood this when she referred to the mechanics behind JAWS as pop-Eisenstein-isms. And she correctly read the ‘ideology’ of the movie, which is ‘smart and witty Jew shall prevail over the gung ho and macho white man.’ Indeed, the movie is interesting as a kind of subconscious divide-and-conquer movie. Though Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss are not identified as Jewish, we know they are meant to signify Jews. Though they side with the tough white guy played by Robert Shaw, the movie really comes down to Jews having the tough white guy fight the big shark, which is like a Negro of the sea despite its whiteness. After the shark kills the tough white guy, the Jewish guy blows away the shark, and then the two surviving Jews wade back to sea. In the novel, the scuba-diver-guy gets killed, but Spielberg changed the ending so that the two Jews live on.
Of course, Spielberg is a crafty son-of-a-gun and knows that if his movies are too Jewishy, people might catch on and even be turned off. So, in JURASSIC PARK and LOST WORLD, there are some nasty Jewishy guys. JURASSIC PARK has the lawyer who runs into the toilet — though he could pass for Italian-American — and there’s the fat Newman character. And in THE LOST WORLD, the villain who gets his comeuppance is some Jewishy guy played by Bob Balaban. But on the other hand, they are balanced by supposedly the wisest and smartest guy around, the very Jewishy character played by Jeff Goldblum. One thing we have to understand about Spielberg applies to a whole bunch of other Jews too: Jews see us as inferior but more numerous and stronger. And Jews believe that we must constantly be tamed, prodded, and manipulated in order for us to be keep being supportive of and obedient to Jews. If our real souls run wild, Jews might lose control over us, and we might trample all over Jews. It’s like trainers of big powerful animals must constantly remind the animals who is boss. This is how a single lion tamer can control all them lions in a circus. This is why a whole bunch of elephants will obey a few people. This is why chimpanzees and other apes must be constantly reminded by zookeepers who is boss because, otherwise, they might go apeshit and act like Negroes. Indeed, Jews feel toward whites how whites felt about Negroes in the South. Whites knew that Negroes were dumber, bigger, stronger, and more aggressive. So, if the Negro was not ‘put in his place’, he might become wild and funky, act all uppity and shit, realize that the White Master is just a flabby, dweeby, and soft white boy, and whup the white man and take the white woman. Though Jews condemn how whites once used to ‘put blacks in their place’, Jews are ever so eager to ‘put whites in their place’. Since Jews cannot do this physically, they do it psychologically. Just like blacks in the past were trained not to stare directly into the eyes of whites, Jews make sure that whites do not PSYCHOLOGICALLY stare straight into Jewish eyes. Psychologically, whites must always bow down to Jews, always apologize to Jews, always worship the Jews. Whites must be fearful of saying anything that might upset their Jewish massuhs. What the Jews did to whites is many more times more masterful than what whites did to blacks. Whites told blacks, “Listen up, you ape-like African niggers. We whites are the best and we have lots of powers. You niggers better obey us, not give us lip, and act like tame dogs, or we are gonna teach you niggers a nasty lesson, like whipping you until you say ‘Toby’ instead of ‘Kunta’.” Jews are no less racially supremacist than American whites had been in the past, but Jews play it like, “We poor, helpless, and saintly Jews have been the victims of racial supremacism, and so we understand what it means to be the underdog and the downtrodden, and so, we do everything in our power to help those in need; and that is why we need to shame, silence, and suppress anyone who dares to oppose us.” This is very funny since Jews, from the moment they set foot on America, were aiming to be the rulers of this nation, and once they gained elite control of this country, they’ve been changing and forcing legal, political, cultural, and financial policy so that theirs will be a 1000 Yr Jewreich. Ironically, Jewish Supremacists define their identity as the victims of racial supremacism. Of course, Jews were indeed the victims of ‘Aryan’ racial supremacism, but why did the Germans — and other Europeans — come to hate Jews so much? Because Jews had been acting arrogant, hateful, disgusting, cocky, pushy, contemptuous, and supremacist for so long. Recently, according to the New York Times, some Jews have been bashing Japan for its secret history of having used Korean sex-slaves(or ‘comfort women’) during WWII. Maybe Japan needs to face up to its history more honestly, but I find it funny that Jews would be bitching about Japanese sexual slavery when Israel is the sex-slave capital of the Middle East, a nation where the ruling elites conspire with Russian emigre Jews to lure and enslave Christian Slavic women to be used as sex meat ‘comfort women’ for disgusting men from all over the world. Unlike white ‘racists’ in the past who were open and honest about their racial supremacism, Jewish supremacists play a sly game of hide-and-seek, whereby they relentlessly seek more wealth, power, and influence, all the while pretending to be on the side of ‘equality’ and ‘social justice’. Indeed, for all their yammering about creating a more just world, the economic history of the last 50 yrs can be summed up as “Jews get richer, white goyim get poorer.” Of course, there will always be a class of ‘creative’ and ‘globalist’ white collaborators who will reap huge rewards by sticking close with their Jewish Supremacist bosses — just like there have been turncoat collaborators of all stripes and colors all throughout history — , but anyone with a real antennae for truth should know that things are getting better and better for most Jews in the globalizing world while things are getting worse and worse for the vast majority of whites. We now live in a world where billionaire Jews, who live in ultra-privileged world of their own, admonish poor whites for ‘racism’ and ‘inequality’ simply because poor whites have concerns about black violence. What was the Wall Street ‘bailout’ but a huge transference of wealth from the white middle class to the Jewish overclass? Since Jews need to ‘hide’ their power, they pretend to ally with ‘poor’ blacks while placing all blame on America’s problems on ‘white history’ and ‘white power’. (If Jews are so filled with hatred of the West, why did they migrate to Europe? Why didn’t they migrate to black Africa? Who stopped them from doing so? And who’s stopping them now? If Jews really feel that there is still too much ‘antisemitism’ among evil whites, especially in Europe, why don’t Jews all move to black Africa and work alongside those wonderful blacks? You see, Jews don’t really like blacks. Jews are only using blacks for black ‘symbolic historical value’ to morally intimidate conscientious whites and put them in their place.)
For many people, WAR HORSE was just another simple-minded ‘family movie’ from Spielberg, but there’s nothing simple-minded about its intentions. The horse in the movie is meant to symbolize the big dumb goy. A horse, like a dog, can be trained to carry anyone, ride for any side, and fight for any side. So, the horse goes from one owner to another, from one side to another. Some might say the horse is like the wandering Jew, but not so. No matter where Jews went, they always knew that they were Jews and acted in their own interest. The horse is rather like Forrest Gump: a dumbass. It’s a good horse, but recall that many good Germans mindlessly fought for Hitler. So, basically Spielberg is saying that even good goyim cannot be trusted, i.e. most goyim are too dumb to think morally and will fight for Nation A if brainwashed to serve Nation A and fight for Nation B if brainwashed to serve Nation B. Though the movie is about a gayish boy and a horse, the boy himself might as well be the horse. They are both likable and sympathetic in their ‘innocence’, but it’s the sort of innocence that can easily be manipulated by the powers-that-be. At one point, someone says to a friend how fortunate it is that a certain big tough guy is on their side because the big fellow would make a fearsome enemy if on the other side. Spielberg feels that way about white goyim. He fears all white goyim and wants them on his side because if white goyim were to take the other side, they might kick the Jew’s ass. Since Jews cannot match the white goyim in number and brawn — just like a lion tamer cannot match a bunch of lions on the physical level — , they must use mind-tricks and sticks-and-carrots to control the white goyim and keep them on the Jew’s side. Under communism, Jewish radicals used the whip and stick on the Slavic masses, but you can beat a big animal only so much. And in the long run, a whole bunch of Russians came to hate Jews for what they’d done. So, Jews prefer not to use the physical whip anymore. Instead, they use the psychological whip of carrots and sticks. And they exploit and manipulate the moral goodness of whites. Jews know that whatever evils whites may committed throughout history, there’s no doubt that white folks have been the most conscientious people on the planet for the last 200 years. Even when white folks did bad stuff, they kinda felt sorry. And when one bunch of whites went crazy — as Hitler did — , another bunch of whites did everything to crush him. And one bunch of whites fought another bunch of whites in America to end slavery of a race that wasn’t even white. So, there is goodness among whites. Jews have learned to own and control this goodness. (Whites used to own their goodness, and it had been a point of their racial pride. But now, Jews own it and use it to shame whites whenever whites don’t act as Jews order them to. Jews own it because Jews own the government, academia, media, law firms, and finance.) By emphasizing mostly the bad things done by whites via the media, Jews have convinced whites that they must do much more for atone for all the historical sins they’ve committed; Jews have also whitewashed history so that conscientious whites have been led to think Jews and blacks — and gays too — have been entirely blameless since the beginning of time, and it’s entirely on the shoulders of white straight folks — especially males — to make amends, apologize, and grovel seemingly forever. And if any white person were to mention the fact that slavery was prevalent in Africa and that black Africans captured slaves and sold them to whites, he would be accused of ‘justifying black slavery in America’. And if a white gentile were to mention the fact that Jews had often acted viciously throughout Western history and Jews played a key role in the mass violence/killings in the Soviet Union, he would be accused of ‘justifying the Holocaust’. Any contextualization of Jewish history/experience by white goyim is even called a kind of ‘Holocaust Denial’.
What should be obvious from all this is that Jews are a vile, hideous, and repulsive people. Sure, they are a great people who’ve made tremendous contributions to humanity, but they are vile just the same — just like Germans during the Nazi era, though a great people with a great history, had turned vile and hideous with their ludicrous radical racial theories. But one virtue of Nazi supremacism was honesty, whereas there’s NOTHING honest about the Jews. (Hubris brought the Nazis down, but Jews are ever more careful and go for Jewbris than Hubris. Jewbris is the Jewish knowledge that open hubris will only attract resentment and hostility from gentiles. If the Nazis had been less hubristic, they would have kept the power.) Anyway, one more thing about the WAR HORSE: Every American soldier is essentially a clueless war horse controlled by Zionists who really run American foreign policy. Am I accusing Jews of ‘blood libel’? You bet I am. Only a damn idiot would find nothing wrong with the fact that Jews concoct Wars for Israel while virtually all the dying — and getting maimed — are done by gentiles, especially white males. Indeed, Wars for Israel are not merely cases of Blood Libel but kosher slaughtering. What Jews are doing to whites is no different from what the pigs did to the horse in George Orwell’s ANIMAL FARM.

What makes THE LOYAL 47 RONIN interesting is the prevalence of thinvisible psychological walls. It doesn’t require much effort on the part of the ronin to see and know the bullshit nature of the system and how little sense it makes, but they willfully overlook that truth because the psychological walls and frames of hierarchy and honor codes are so crucial to what they are and have been all their lives. Even meaning based on falsehood can be more comforting than absence of meaning based on truth. While meaning can be derived from truth, truth can also undermine certain social, cultural, and/or psychological systems. It’s like the Ptolemaic astronomy was wrong but imbued Western/Christian man with the sense of Earth as the center of God’s universe. Thus, the people faced with the discomfiting truth are forced to search for new(and better)meanings which is never easy. It’s like when a baby is forced out of the womb, he or she hollers and screams and goes into panic mode. Though the baby is surrounded by the larger and greater truth outside the dark womb, he or she cries and wants to reenter the womb. Since it cannot reenter the womb, the next best thing is to cling to the mother, who serves as the baby’s psychological womb for a long time, even to adulthood(among Italian men).
The mother cult is important in Japan according to Ian Buruma’s BEHIND THE MASK. According to Buruma, even though the Japanese son is ideally supposed to look up to his father, the Japanese father tends to be distant and often away at work — and after work, may spend time with his co-workers. Thus, much of the responsibility of raising the child falls to the mother, and so a strong bond develops between mother and son. Japanese culture teaches males that man should be a man and put away childish things, but Japanese males grow up under a mother who is always there to coddle, support, nurture, forgive, and even ‘baby’ the kid. There’s a illustration in the book from a Japanese comic book where a guy goes to a prostitute who pretends to be the man’s mother and has him suck on her teat like he’s baby in need of milk.
But Japanese sons must, of course, grow up and put all that stuff behind — and even pretend it never existed — and Japanese mothers must let the sons go to since Japan is a shame society where proper appearances are crucial. But even as the ties between mothers and sons are severed socially, the emotional bond cannot be so easily severed — consider the way the mother in STILL WALKING clings to the memory of her dead son, even to the point of annually humiliating a hapless man who’d inadvertently caused the son’s death — , and so the son subconsciously develops the feeling that he was cruelly betrayed and abandoned by a once caring mother. Though the mother only did what she was supposed to do and the son knows this, something in the son’s psyche feels lost because when he was growing up, the mother seemed to live only for him and do everything for him so that he would do well in school and become somebody. (Paradoxically, the mother’s intense devotion/effort to help her son succeed and rise in the outside world makes the son ever more attached to the inside-world of the mother-and-son. The mother, in doing her best to lift the son, holds and hugs the son. The son wants to cling to the mother but also resents his unmanly emotional dependence on the mother due to her intense devotion to him. A DARK NIGHT’S PASSING by Nagoya Shiga, one of the great modern Japanese novels, hinges on a son’s discovery of the true nature of his birth and his relation to his late mother.) And so, one of the popular themes in Japanese popular culture has been the story — in movies, comic books, and TV shows — about cold uncaring mothers who abandon their families and go off to do their own thing(like the mother in EAST OF EDEN — the movie as I haven’t read the book — where James Deans eventually goes nuts, especially because a part of him identifies with her as he too is alienated from his father and brother). Though most Japanese mothers carried out their duties with devotion, the fact that the mother-son relationship must eventually come to an end(as the son comes of maturity) make Japanese sons feel as though they’d been abandoned(and also as though they’ve abandoned their mothers); it’s like Japanese boys have to break out of two wombs: the physical womb when being and psychological womb when they go off to college. (Leaving the psychological womb may be easier for sons who’ve been admitted to good colleges, ample compensation for losing the connection to the ‘sacred mother’. Also, since she ‘sacrificed’ and slaved so much to send her son to a good school, the attainment of that hope sort of maintains the bond between the mother and son. The mother loses the son and the son loses the mother, but the son’s admittance to a good college means they succeeded together, and thus, the son’s success is a fulfilment of the common dream shared by mother and son. But for a dumbass son who didn’t make it to a good college, it’s more difficult to break the connection with his mother since there’s no great prize to console them. But it is also difficult to remain with the mother since it would mean he failed her and/or she failed him. And so, there have been cases of sons going nuts and attacking their mothers in Japan. A Negro son might beat up his mama cuz she done ate his bucket of fried chicken, but a Japanese son might beat up his mother because he didn’t make it to Tokyo University.) Feeling lost and dejected upon losing the connection to the ‘sacred mother’, Japanese males turn to pop culture narratives where a son searches for a mother who abandoned him and went off to be a madam at a whorehouse or some such. I suppose this is Japan’s own variation of the mother/whore thing that exists in the West, especially among childish Italian males. There may be an element of this in Greek culture too for, even into modern times, it was not uncommon for even full-grown Greek boys to sleep in the same bed with their mothers. (It explains why so many Greek guys may act big and tough but are really petulant sissies.)
In some ways, Jewish mothers have it right despite the fact that many of them tend to be neurotic, nasty, and even deranged. Jewish mothers have found a way to mix, more or less, the right blend of the hard and soft approaches, the right blend of mental and emotional attachments/responses. The problem with Japanese sons is they grow up thinking that their mothers are devoted to them 100% emotionally, and so they fail to mature emotionally on their own, and when they’re suddenly pushed out of the coup and thrust into the bigger world, they feel abandoned and lost, which is why so many of them are desperate to find second homes through lifetime employment; having left one hive, they want to belong to a new hive, a kind of ersatz family clan. There is an earnestness in Japanese culture that makes this a bigger problem. The Japanese woman is not known for her wit or independent personality, and so she lives through her son. (Also, even intelligent Japanese men didn’t so much seek wives according to comparable intelligence or winning personality but for her usefulness as loyal wife and devoted mother. So, even intelligent sons of intelligent fathers could be raised by mothers who weren’t intellectually stimulating.) He feels attached to her and feels that she’s attached to him and only to him — especially as the father is often away. The Jewish mother, in contrast, is both emotional and intellectual. Even an uneducated Jewish mother is full of wiliness and wit. She will hug her son and be supportive but also prick him with acerbic comments from the moment he’s born; the first thing a Jewish son hears is a witty crack by his mother(and the first thing a Negro son hears is his mother sucking on a crack pipe.) Also, she will raise her son to be a wit himself — of course, Jews are born witty due to higher intelligence and naturally wily personalities. To the Japanese mother, an ideal son is a kid who’s earnest, diligent, hardworking, and perfectly in sync with the social order. She hugs him like a puppy but raises him to be a robot(which may explain why Japanese love robotic dogs and cats). Now, those modes may seem contradictory — emotional warmth akin to hugging a puppy and emotional coldness akin to building a robot — , but what they have in common is the attitude of single-minded earnestness. The Japanese mother is emotionally earnestly devoted to her son, and she is socially earnestly devoted to raising the perfect-as-possible robot that conforms to social proprieties and rules. The Japanese are either too dim or too rigid to see any contradiction in any of this — that there is something strange about so much emotional earnestness being invested in creating a person of such emotionless earnestness.

Indeed, the odd thing about the Japanese concept of shame and honor is the ideal of emotionlessness. Though it was not unusual for someone who felt shame to get down on the ground and sob and express his or her shame, that generally didn’t solve the problem. Ideally, what the man or woman — at least if they were of higher social rank — was supposed to do was emotionlessly accept his or her fate and commit ritual suicide without showing any sign of fear or pain. Thus, when a samurai commits seppuku — aka harakiri — , he’s not supposed to flinch or grimace, let alone cry in pain or panic in fear and run like a mothafuc*a. He’s supposed to act as though he feels no pain, indeed as if he’s above pain.
There is a kind of similarity between a woman giving birth and a samurai cutting open his belly(in what is like a caesarian birth ritual). It’s as if by opening his belly and emptying its contents, the man has finally cut all emotional ties to his mother — and having done so without showing fear and pain, he’s proven his worth as an emotionless samurai warrior(unlike a woman who clearly expresses and displays signs of fear, pain, and duress before and during childbirth). If woman gives birth to life, the samurai must be willing to give birth to death. If he’s been accused of having done something wrong, he must prove his manly worth through the act of ultimate atonement/sacrifice. And some samurai cut open their bellies simply out of a sense of duty/honor even though they didn’t do anything wrong. So, if a certain lord died, a loyal samurai might cut open his belly to die too to show his undying fealty to the lord. (One problem with the cult of seppuku was that no one who went through with it survived to tell others that it was or wasn’t worth it, and this aspect of Japanese culture would lead to dire results, culminating in the disaster of the Pacific War. It’s not uncommon for men to do something extremely difficult, painful, and/or strenuous, and then impart their lessons, pro or con, about what they’d gone through. So, a man might climb a mountain and talk about how he overcame the tremendous challenge and became a better man for it. He has survived and lived to tell the tale; he’s gone to hell and back, and he has earned the right to give a speech about ‘no pain, no gain’. Thus, in the West at least, the ideal of ‘no pain, no gain’ has to be proven with evidence. If something difficult and painful is said to be worthy and elevating to the body/soul, the person making the case has to demonstrate that he’d been through it and survived to tell the tale. So, it makes sense for a man to climb a mountain, return back to the ground, and tell other men why they should do it if they want to be Real Men. Jesus got whupped real bad and died a horrible death, but Christian mythology says He returned to show the Disciples that He’d overcome the suffering, and so, that served as some kind of evidence even if it was hallucinated or made up. But suppose someone leaps into fire and burns to death. That’s not ‘no pain, no gain’ but just plain insane. He’s died a painful death and proved nothing. But suppose a cult develops around it, and the men of a community come to believe it is supremely manly and honorable to jump into flames and burn themselves to death though, of course, most men prefer NOT to do it; they’d rather not do it in actuality, but they fetishize it as the ultimate expression of manhood, and as such, push it onto OTHER men. This would have to be a matter of faith since no one who burned to death ever returned to tell others, “fellas, it’s not worth it.” But suppose the cult of burning-to-death has become so much a part of manhood culture that the men of the community mock any guy who expresses doubt about it. This was the problem with seppuku. Samurai were willing to do it because they were raised with utter ‘faith’ in the bushido code. Now, if those who’d committed seppuku came back to life, they most certainly would have told the living samurai, “fellas, it hurts like shit, and if I knew then what I know now, I’d never done it.” Because everyone who committed seppuku never lived to tell the tale and warn others not to do it, the faith was perpetrated by samurai who didn’t know the true extent of the pain and agony. Instead, they idealized it from what they’d been told about bushido and warrior honor. It’s one thing to undergo a terrible ordeal and then decide whether it’s worth it or not in a ‘no pain, no gain’ sort of way. But this was impossible with seppuku since right after the samurai underwent the horrible pain of slitting his belly, his head was chopped off. The mind-set of Mishima that led to his suicide was a replay of the mind-set of Japan that led to war with United States. Mishima, an artist and warrior-poet, idealized bushido and fixated on the purity of ‘faith’ involved in seppuku. He knew it would be painful, but he thought the pain would be ecstatic, like in the painting he saw of St. Sebastian with arrows. He thought that through this exalted pain, he’d gain entry into samurai heaven. But when he finally did it, it felt so horrible that he bowled over and made sounds of a dog beaten half to death. If he’d survived, he would have been convinced and might have convinced others that seppuku is really stupid. But his head was chopped off, and so Mishima fans live with the ‘faith’ that he died nobly. The cult of seppuku encouraged Japanese males to embrace and rush into violent things as if they were utterly impervious to fear, pain, and etc. And this was the mentality with which Japan rushed into a war it couldn’t win. Worse, it wasn’t even a war Japan could lose ‘nobly’ and ‘beautifully’. Japanese thought, win or lose, they’d do it in spiritual/poetic fashion. Even if they were to lose, they would not cry in fear and agony or plead for mercy. They would fight to the last for the Emperor, and the whole nation would die together in a great collective suicide, a kind of collective rapture of Yamato bushido spirit. But reality didn’t accord with this faith in the exulted purity of poetic violence. When bombs rained down on Japan, Japanese did cry out in pain. They did go crazy from the misery and horror. They became like rats desperate to survive. In the film SEPPUKU, aka HARAKIRI, the men of a clan force a young ronin to commit horrible harakiri with a bamboo sword. In a way, the men are being faithful to bushido, the code of the warrior, but the problem is none of them underwent seppuku himself. They are acting holier-than-thou and self-righteous about something they know only from theory. It’s easy to be a ‘noble samurai’ who is theoretically impervious to pain. It’s easy to say, in theory, that one is not afraid to run into a tiger cage and wrestle with the big cat. The men in SEPPUKU are like men who never wrestled with a tiger forcing another man to wrestle with a tiger on the basis that they are faithful to the cult of wrestling with tigers though they themselves had never wrestled with a tiger.) The reason why the Jews never came up with something so ridiculous is because Jews have a better mix of emotional life and intellectual life. Though Japanese converse and chat, much of the Japanese social ideal has revolved around silence and saying only what should be said according to social propriety and codes. And some people are not supposed to say much of anything, especially in the presence of superiors or strangers. Therefore, among strangers, one is generally supposed to remain quiet or only stick to niceties, which is why people in Ozu films will just stare into space, smile a lot, and talk only about the weather. In the presence of men — sometimes even between man and wife — , the woman isn’t supposed to say much. And children are not supposed to say much in front of adults, which is why Ozu’s OHAYO is so funny; the older son gives lip to his dad because he wants a TV.
Jews have it differently. If a kid didn’t say much in the presence of a Jewish adult, the latter would think the kid is dumb like a Polack. And Jewish women like to give lip to just about anything. And due to their higher intelligence, Jews pepper even daily yammerings with lots of wit and interesting observations. Even from a young age, Jewish kids are making witty wisecracks and puns, and this is sort of thing is encouraged among Jews. (I once saw a Jewish mother tell her son not to pick his nose, so the little kid puts a toy pig by his nose and says, ‘no pig-in-nose?’ Jewish kids are witty buggers from a young age.) So, even though Jewish kids are showered with love by their parents, the element of wit and irony teach Jewish kids to think about the world and not accept everything on faith. Also, the fact that Jews lived as an intelligent-and-hostile minority in majority goy nations made them less likely to accept mainstream values-and-narratives favored and instituted by goyim. Sometimes, Jews would PRETEND to go along, but deep in their hearts, they never did. And even when Jews merged or assimilated with the larger society by embracing Christianity, liberalism, democracy, or communism, Jews tried to gain control of the system from within and change it to their needs/agendas. As Buruma mentions in BEHIND THE MASK, even though there has been the Jewish Mother Complex, Jews always had a sense of irony, humor, and insight to at least half-way understand the problem and laugh about it. (Jews also found a better way to balance sacrifice and self-interest. Thus, a Jewish mother will ‘sacrifice’ herself for her kids but not in a selfless way. She will remind her sons that if they make a lot of money, they better build her a retirement home in Miami. There is something of the Ayn Rand about all Jewish mothers, even leftist ones. “I did it for you, you better do it for me.” In contrast, the Japanese mother is supposed to ‘sacrifice’ herself entirely for her son without asking for any rewards. And once the son is grown up and busy with work, the mother and son may even become like strangers, and this is likely to lead to even greater feelings of guilt on the son, that is if the son has a conscience or a streak of sentimentality, however buried it may be.
I once read that LA STRADA was a huge hit in Japan, and a whole bunch of Japanese women cried like babies watching that movie. It could be they identified with the character of Gelsomina, a woman who decides that she was put on this Earth to live for Zampano and ask nothing more from life. After she dies and Zampano breaks down and cries at the end, maybe Japanese women were responding to emotions that they couldn’t express openly in Japan. A Japanese woman is ideally supposed to live for her husband and son and ask nothing in return, not even a show of affection. But deep down inside, everyone wants to be appreciated. That Zampano, who was gruff and insensitive to Gelsomina when she was alive, finally realizes what she meant to him and pours out his emotions may have had a cathartic effect on Japanese women who rarely came in contact with such emotions in real life — and indeed were emotionally unequipped to deal with them. If the Japanese ideal was to be emotionless or at least emotionally restrained — even among family members as seen in Ozu films — , then the Japanese woman could not expect displays of appreciation or apologies from their husbands and sons in real life. This is why the scene where the husband gets on his knees and thanks his wife, the oldest sister, in MAKIOKA SISTERS is so remarkable. Then, the only hope is for the husband or son to eventually come to a realization even if it requires the death of the woman for this to take place. No wonder then that one of the most memorable films on this theme is a ghost story, UGETSU MONOGATARI by Kenji Mizoguchi where a wayward husband eventually comes to the realization of his wife’s worth. But there can be a dark side of this tale too, one of vengeance than forgiveness. In the segment “Black Hair” — the first story of KWAIDAN — , the deserted woman turns into a demon and torments her husband to death, even though he returned to redress the wrong he’d committed. Even so, death can be ideal as an agent of forgiveness for it liberates the body from the hardships and torments of the world. In a way, it’s because the woman in UGETSU dies that she can hover purely as a ghost and wait for her husband to return and resume his life with his/her son. Similarly, there is a kind of peace in death for the crucified lovers in CHIKAMATSU MONOGATARI. In contrast, though the women of SANSHO THE BAILIFF, aka SANSHO DAYU, and LIFE OF OHARU survive, they are like lives without souls. Oharu, at the end, is a defeated woman. Once so pure of heart, she’s fallen to a life of corruption and cynicism. The mother in SANSHO THE BAILIFF, when the son finds her at the end, is not without emotions, but something inside her is dead and she cannot feel for him what he still feels for her. Anyway, while I can understand why so many Japanese women reacted so strongly to LA STRADA, I can’t imagine too many Jewish women liking that movie. They would have found it too Christian, too earnest in its emotions.) This was far more difficult for the Japanese due to the cultural ideals of earnestness and timidity. The element of earnestness made the Japanese more likely to feel emotions without detachment or irony. And the element of timidity made it less likely for the Japanese to air out and discuss their emotions/problems. And so, the Japanese just internalized their problems and sought release by reading comic books about some mother who abandons her family and is later discovered by the son to be some madam at a whorehouse. Of course, Japan has changed a great deal since the 19th century, and some might even argue that great social changes have been afoot since the 1980s. One of the developments in recent years have been young Japanese girls who seem to stay at home forever, speak like chipmunks, pucker their nipples pink, and model themselves on cartoon characters. As for the men, there seems to be a new generation of Japanese slackers and metrosexuals who are rejecting the age-old male traditions of their forebears. Though change is surely necessary for Japan, I’m not sure recent developments are healthy signs of improvement. What can society benefit fromgirls who refuse to get married and wanna look like cartoon characters and guys who don’t wanna grow up, don’t wanna get married, and just wanna make enough to play videogames?

If the problem of the Japanese was excessive emotional earnestness in the service of creating people of excessive emotionless social earnestness — emotionally devoted Japanese mothers working so hard to create boys who care about nothing but going to good schools, getting good jobs, and fitting into society — , the problem among Wasp mothers was excessive detachment and/or niceness that made for kids who turned out to be too bland and cold-fish-like. While a wasp kid might be emotionally and intellectually more balanced than Japanese or Jewish kid, there was something missing in the engine. Some Wasp mothers were like Mary Tyler Moore in ORDINARY PEOPLE and made their kids feel like strangers in their own home. Other Wasp mothers could be warm and supportive, but their excessive you-have-to-love-everyone niceness made for rather dweeby kids, especially with the sons. And there were also dry neo-puritanical mothers who raised their kids to be excessively politically correct. So, even though a Japanese son could be crazy, he could still be fanatically committed to something, like Kobayashi the hotdog muncher. And though a Jewish kid could be nuts, he was charged with emotions and intellect encouraged by his parents — his mother no less than his father. Wasp parents try to raise ‘well-adjusted’ kids whereas Jewish parents try to raise well-motivated kids, and motivation, like electricity, needs the charge of both emotions and intellect. Jews are raised with strong emotions and strong intellect whereas Wasps are raised with moderate emotions and moderate intellect. Though a society made up most of wasps will likely be stabler and saner than one made up of zany Jews, Jews were bound to win in America because while Wasps and wasp-ized whites were doing their best to maintain a sane-and-stable moderate society, Jews were using their creative craziness to hog the limelight and attention. (On the other hand, without the foundation of sane, stable, and moderate Wasp law & order, Jews couldn’t have risen to such heights in America. It’s like a Negro running back wouldn’t be able to do much without the sound blocking of the offensive linemen and the fair calls of referee.) Though a whole bunch of Jewish ideas were crazy, they could also be zany, provocative, and brilliant enough to win over a lot of smart people whereas the Wasps never had the same kind of emotional and intellectual charge to dominate the culture, at least once feisty Jews entered the game. When the creation of America required a lot of heavy lifting — settling wilderness into farmland and building towns where savages once roamed — , the on-the-ground pragmatism of Wasp-Americans had a decisive upperhand, but once America was settled and social-and-scientific progress became more a matter of mastery of theory and control of sounds-and-images, then it was time for the wiley and creative Jews to gain an upperhand over the moderate and predictable Wasps. So, if white Americans really wanna challenge Jewish power, they need to raise their kids with an element of creative craziness and drive. Just like more intelligent animals like to be stimulated, the most intelligent elements of society feel attracted to stuff that provokes them, and such things tend to have an element of ‘craziness’. The Wasp ideal has been sanity, stability, and moderation, and indeed those are good qualities, but the future game of power will involve elements of ‘craziness’ whether it be zany humor, visionariness, imaginative speculation, grand theorizing, and other stuff that requires chutzpah. Other than passion, Wasps gotta have personality, which many of them don’t. No group can win on propriety alone. Jesus may have been deluded, but it took wild personal imagination to come up with that stuff and change history. Marx was wrong, but his grand and imaginative theorizing won over entire generations of intellectuals, even in Britain where, even today, he remains among the most revered figures. Though the modern West owes more to Adam Smith, Marx is the more respected figure among intellectuals. He may have been wrong, but there was an exciting craziness about him. And this is also why the postwar Left has been so eager to appropriate Nietzsche for its side. After all, he may have been the most crazily creative thinker in the past two hundred years. And German classical music swept the world in the 19th century because of its element of creative craziness. Guys like Robert Bork may be intelligent and all, but their entire message to the Right has been ‘close your eyes and stick to the tried-and-true’. Now, there is a need for such a people, but for any ideology or movement to have relevance and resonance in the modern world, it needs to engage people with an element of creative craziness, and Jews have it in spades. And why did Japanese cinema gain such respect in the 50s and 60s? It was among the most creatively crazy in the world. It seems as though some peoples — like the Japanese with cinema and Germans with music — go through certain stages of crazy creativeness but then run dry. In contrast, Jews seem able to sustain their creative craziness seemingly forever. Jews never run out of ideas, and even when they reuse the same ideas, they find new ways to be crazy with them. Consider how Jews found a million different ways to interpret and understand their sacred texts over thousands of years. Just consider what Bob Dylan Zimmerman could do with just a bunch of words:

In the documentary NO DIRECTION HOME, he reads some words off store signs and reassembles them in seemingly infinite ways. It may be nonsensical and meaningless, but it’s also brilliant and tireless in its creative craziness. Great Britain produced a lot of literary wits, but the British ideal has always been to keep the emotions under the lid, maintain one’s composure, and rely on dry air of superiority. It had a long run, but dryness eventually turns crusty and blows away. Eventually, the dry tongue is no match for the wet tongue. The mouth of the Jew isn’t only with witty with jokes but wetty with saliva to be spat on his enemies.

Anyway, the world of THE LOYAL 47 RONIN is something of a make-believe world. It’s a world that any honest person — even a Japanese — could look through/across to identify the falsehoods, contradictions, and hypocrisies. There really is no great mystery to what happened and the nature of the power that governed what happened. If such understanding is prohibited, it’s because the culture puts primacy on seeing the walls than what’s behind them — even if the walls happen to be thin or transparent. The problem of Old Japan was it was committed to having it both ways: both the morally righteous Confucian way and the formally proper Heian court way; both loyal to the Bushido code and loyal to the Imperial aura.
In the story, the young lord of the clan cannot be forgiven for losing his temper and drawing his sword even if he’d done it in righteous — and rightful — rage. Court etiquette is just as important as moral justification. And as the meaning of life of the samurai comes from serving his lord, it’s only natural that the 47 ronin would try to avenge their lord — and the Shogunate knows this — , but their lord was ordered to commit suicide by the Shogunate that sided with the corrupt official. (If the 47 ronin seek revenge, they are disobeying the Shogunate. But if they do nothing to avenge their lord, they would be looked upon as a bunch of dishonorable cowards by the Shogunate order. They are caught between a rock and a hard place.) Since the shogunate sided with the corrupt official, wouldn’t that mean the 47 ronin should rebel against the higher authorities as well? But that would be unthinkable since the Shogunate is the supreme authority of Japan to which all samurai are supposed to be loyal to. The Shogunate is also the protector of the Emperor who is supposedly divine and is the sacred symbol of Japan. Should the 47 ronin protest the decision of the Shogunate? But that would be disrespectful. So, their only option is paradoxically to rebel in the name of higher loyalty; they must kill the corrupt official and disobey the orders from the Shogunate but as act of duty to the code of bushido, to which even the Shogunate is bound. (In a way, the 47 ronin knows that the Shogunate is also in a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t situation. If it sides with the corrupt official, it will besmirch its name by protecting someone of low character while ordering a decent, albeit hotheaded, samurai lord or daimyo to kill himself. On the other hand, if the shogunate sides with the young lord, it will undermine the rules of etiquette that are so important to the samurai order and hierarchy. The only way to resolve the situation is for the 47 ronin to ‘take the law into their own hands’ in the name of higher service to the law.) Just as ‘wrongfully accused’ communists in the Soviet Union continued to remain loyal to Stalin — in the conviction that Stalin would not have allowed their persecution if only he knew all the facts — , the 47 Ronin, knowing that it’s unthinkable to rebel against or reject Shogunate/Imperial authority, can only cling to the hope that the higher authority will eventually realize the truth if they acted in the purest principles and then paid for their deed with their lives.
But, there is another explanation. The 47 ronin knew that the higher authorities made the ‘right decision’ given the rules of the system and circumstances surrounding the action. There can be no excuse for anyone, even their lord, to lose self-control and draw his sword inside the shogunate palace, even if it was against a corrupt official who really deserved to die. In that sense, the higher authorities, even if they wanted to spare the young lord, couldn’t have done so because doing so would have undermined the crucial edifice of the entire ‘perfect’ system. (There’s a similar logic at work as to why the Chow Yun-Fat character in ANNA AND THE KING feels an obligation to have a concubine executed even though he personally doesn’t wish to. Even as the most powerful of his nation, he is powerless to change The Way since it is the basis of his authority linking him to society as a whole and linking elements within the society to one another.) And even the young lord probably understood this and accepted his fate without complaint. There is no perfect justice in this world, and someone has to ‘pay’ to restore calm and maintain the system. (There is an element of this in the West as well. When the L.A. jury came up with the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the Rodney King case, it should have legally ended there. But there were race riots, and the nation seemed to be up in arms, and so the federal government charged the policemen with violating Rodney King’s civil rights and pretty much ensured a verdict that sent two cops to prison. It was bullshit, but the system felt it was necessary to ensure calm and stability to the system.) In all societies, laws and justice are not only about judging right or wrong but about manipulating ways to ensure the preservation of the system, which is why there’s no such thing as perfect justice in the world. Given such limitations of justice, some turn to rebellion or vigilantism. Blacks felt that the Rodney King trial verdict was unfair and went about burning L.A. and smashing other parts of America. And some people who feel that the legal system didn’t deliver the justice take law into their own hands. IN THE BEDROOM, where a father kills the murderer of his son, is about vigilante justice. But not all acts of disobedience are in the nature of rebellion or vigilantism, and the tale of THE LOYAL 47 RONIN is a prime example. They disobey but in the name of higher obedience. And yet they understand that what they did is nevertheless an act of disobedience — even if in higher obedience — , and they must be punished for what they did, and they willingly accept their fate by committing ritual suicide. And to the extent that the higher authority allowed the 47 ronin to die honorably, theirs is a kind of a vindication. And in accomplishing what they did, they managed to change everything and nothing. They acted against Shogunate orders — an outrage — , but their deed was recognized as pure and honorable, and they were allowed honorable deaths(and came to be immortalized as the greatest heroes of Japanese legend). But in another way, the higher authorities admitted no wrong, and the system continued as it always had. The action taken by the 47 ronin was, thereby, both revolutionary and reactionary, most unJapanese and most Japanese, and this element of strangeness made it so memorable through the ages.
I say there’s something proto- or quasi-Kafkaesque about the tale of THE LOYAL 47 RONIN and other aspects of Japanese culture because mind screens are also a key feature of Kafka’s stories. In one way, the world of Kafka, at least in THE TRIAL and THE CASTLE, seems labyrinthine, imposing, ominous, and impenetrable, but in another way, the walls and barriers are illusory, fragile, and/or porous. There is something of the logic of a dream where one can slip through the walls and see/hear ‘hidden’ things. THE TRIAL has been interpreted as a story of an innocent man who’s been accused of a crime he didn’t commit, but maybe he is guilty and repressed the knowledge of his crime? (It’s like Norman Bates doesn’t know that HE is the ‘mother’ that killed the woman. Interestingly enough, Perkins played K in Welles’s adaptation.) In one way, the walls in THE TRIAL represent the system that conceals its inner workings from little people like Joseph K. But in another way, the walls could also be the mind screens of Joseph K. himself who doesn’t want to know the truth, possibly of the thing he might really be guilty of. The setup of ANGEL HEART(directed by Alan Parker) is sort of like that. Its protagonist is looking for someone who goes around killing people, but the killer turns out to be none other than himself. It seems to be modeled somewhat on Orson Welles’ MR. ARKADIN where the character Arkadin, who claims to be amnesiac, hires someone to look into his true identity. (It turns out Arkadin is only pretending to be amnesiac in order to track down people he knew in the past to have them killed.) Steven Soderbergh, who made a movie called KAFKA(pretty bad) also made a film called BUBBLE where a woman sincerely thinks she’s innocent and maintains walls within her mind to keep believing so, that is until a part of the wall suddenly breaks and she realizes she is indeed the murderer.
There is no single way to make sense of THE TRIAL or THE CASTLE. It can be read as a story about a lone or helpless individual against the system, or the system can be seen as the secretive structures of the mind. In one way, the walls are real and impenetrable, but in another way, the walls are personal and hidden. It’s like the hide-and-seek goes both ways between the system and Joseph K. System accuses K but keeps him out of its procedures, and K seeks justice but guards his privacy — even as he tries to pry into the ‘privacy’ of the system. When a society accuses a man of a crime, it’s not just a case of man against the powerful system but a case of system against the recalcitrant man. The system has the power to wrongfully accuse but the man has the power to falsely deny. Thus, the walls exist on both sides. The system lost to O.J. Simpson or O.J.K.

It’s human nature to reject an open system/plateau where everything and everyone is equally visible. We prefer to wander through a forest where so much is hidden by trees than walk through flat concrete landscape where everything is visible equally and the same. It’s the walls, barriers, and mazes that make life interesting. In one way, the modern city is a cosmopolitan place open to all peoples. But they are also an empire of walls and barriers, both horizontal and vertical. Before cities were built, the land could have been just a prairie or a flat plain. Everything and everyone in it were on equal terms. But with the rise of buildings, the views are blocked. And depending on who has the talent and skills, the money, and power, some get to occupy the more privileged spaces that are inaccessible for most people. Thus, what had once been an open space for all turns into a series of ‘castles’, as in EYES WIDE SHUT. In terms of official ideology, New York is open to all, but who really occupies the castles of the system? Thus, one could say a place like NY is both walled and un-walled. Anyone can walk the streets, and anyone can theoretically work hard and gain access to the castle. And there’s no big secret on what one needs to gain access: be smart, go to good school, and find a good job, or be born to rich parents. But people also like the aura of mystery and secrecy to their lives, and therefore, so much of the architecture in NY and other big cities demarcate who has access to this or that castle and who doesn’t. Jews would have us believe that Wasps had once occupied all the castles but the wonderful Jews brought down that old discriminatory system, and therefore, modern liberal NY is a diverse wonderland open to all. But when one looks at the social, economic, and political hierarchy of NY, just how evenly distributed are its rewards and privileges? One soon learns that NY Jews have more power and privilege over NY — and the rest of the nation — than Wasps ever did, especially because even at their peak, there was no unified Wasp elite but various competing Wasp elites. While Jews compete amongst themselves in business and intellectual debate, when it comes to collective Jewish power, almost all Jews join forces to keep the upper castles for themselves.

We like walls, for even as walls keep us out, they also keep us in. And they enliven the imagination and adds a sense of mystery to our lives. In the modern era, walls have taken on a negative connotation. Consider the John Hersey novel about the Holocaust called THE WALL. Or who can forget the Berlin Wall and Reagan’s speech calling for Mikhail Gorbachev to ‘Tear down this Wall’, the wall being both the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain. And for rock fans, there’s THE WALL by Pink Floyd. In the modern era of powerful nation-states — where advanced civilizations don’t have to worry about invading Mongols, Vikings, or Muslim armies — and globalist/cosmopolitan agendas, walls are said to be bad. And for a while, when indeed most national borders were secure in the postwar era and the effects of globalism had been contained by sovereign nation-states, it seemed as if everything would work better with fewer walls.
But then, globalism became an all-encompassing creed and policy, and many peoples all over the world are rightfully worried about the erosion of their national sovereignties for the interests of global Jew elites who seem to be growing more powerful and more wealthy by the day. Also, due to the elevation of ‘anti-racism’, radical ‘diversity’, and political correctness, national borders of many nations — especially of the West — are no longer secure. Now, all of Europe is faced with the prospect of Muslim and African invasions, and there’s not much will or courage to do much about it because any nation that takes action will be sanctioned — or even militarily invaded — and any individual who voices his or her opinion could be ostracized, fined, or imprisoned.
And while Jews in America promote the ridiculous(and criminal) notion of ‘undocumented immigrant’ — what do you expect in an age that comes up with ludicrous notions as ‘gay marriage’ — , almost no one has the guts to challenge the Jew. Though the majority of Americans want something to be done about illegal immigration, big time politicians, pundits, and businessmen dare say nothing out of fear that deviance from the politically correct orthodoxy — as implemented by hideous Jews — will surely lead to the demise of one’s career, profession, or enterprise. For most of human history, walls had a positive connotation, especially with rise of ancient civilizations. In the past, cities and other centers of civilization were constantly came under attack by other kingdoms, invaders of another civilization, hordes of bandits, or armies of barbarians. The problem with Rome was not it had too many walls but it didn’t have enough. Constantinople lasted as long as it did because of its mighty walled fortresses. The Chinese had good reasons for building the Great Wall of China because the Mongols were aggressive and invasive. And entire civilizations were protected by natural walls called mountains or natural moats called lakes, river, and even oceans. In the not-so-good movie KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, what do Christian masses do when Saladin’s army comes to attack? They all flock inside city gates to be protected behind walls. And though there have been doubts about the veracity of MASADA(the TV mini-series), Jewish zealots were able to fend off the Romans thanks to their mighty walls and not just their mighty balls. And the Trojans almost won the war because of their great walls; indeed they would have won if not been for the Greek trickery with the wooden horse. And what have Jews wailed most about through the ages? The aptly called Wailing Wall that was destroyed long ago.
Perhaps, for Jews in Kafka’s time, walls had a negative connotation since so many walls kept the Jews out — and walls had kept Jews in the ghetto for ages. (Because of their financial roles, Jews weren’t so much kept OUT of the city as kept WITHIN. And in a way, things are much the same today, with Jews occupying the financial sector of many cities. But if many Jews in the past lived in relatively impoverished ghettos, Jews today live in the fancy ghettos that are the most luxurious parts of the city. And if in the past, Jews were forcibly kept in the ghetto, today’s Jews find clever ways to keep most people out of the Jewish luxury ghettos. Maybe it should be called ‘glittos’ as in ‘glittering ghettos’.) Though there were fabulously rich Jews in Kafka’s time, many Jews still led a precarious existence, and this was also true of rich Jews since their wealth could be taken away if socio-political changed against their favor. Jews, by and large, were still not accepted as legitimate by many people of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and it wasn’t like Jews only to worry about Austrian elites who, if anything, tended to be more tolerant toward Jews than toward other ethnic groups; ethnic groups living under Austria rule tended to see Jews as agents of the Austrian overlords. Though rich Jews lived in their walled palaces, for most Jews of the time, walls meant the barriers of goy elite power — often aristocratic in nature. Walls also meant the rising tide of nationalism that might exclude Jews.

Also, since Europe at the time was no longer threatened by foreign invasions from Mongols or Muslims(or marauding barbarians of any stripe), walls no longer had the protective/sheltering significance the once had. Since Europe was protected by mastery of seas and better weaponry — and rule of law administered by powerful governments — , what need was there for walls? And just how would one erect national wall in a place like the Austro-Hungarian Empire that was made up of a hodgepodge of various ethnic groups spread about all over? For modern man, the only good wall was in the modern prison that kept bad people inside so that good people could roam freely. In the old days, free space was often dominated by ‘bad’ violent people like Vikings, Mongols, and invading Moors; and so, it was the good people who periodically walled themselves into fortress cities to be shielded from attacks. So, prison-like walls had once been for good people seeking shelter from bad people who often dominated the open spaces. Though there were stuff like dungeons long ago, the general penalty for criminals was death or debilitation — like being blinded or having their hands cut off. There were no mass-prisons in the modern sense as they would have been too expensive.
But in the modern era that generally didn’t punish criminals by execution or debilitation, criminals were locked up in prisons that grew larger and larger. And as greater political, social, and legal order prevailed over the land, open spaces came to belong more to good people than to bad people. Thus, prison-like systems were for keeping bad people on the inside so that good people could be on the outside. Thus, the purpose of walls came to be reversed from their original usage.
But meaning of walls may change again as the Western world is increasingly coming under the assault of masses of criminal gangs and third world migrants/immigrants. Due to massive African influx to Europe, there are whole swaths of London or Paris where no decent person would want to walk through. Powerfully built Negroes will taunt you, rob you, or kick your ass. And in America, we hear of the ‘gated community’. Gated why and from whom? From the damn Negroes and white trash & Mexican trash thugs who emulate Negroes. And in South Africa, walls are utterly necessary for survival from attacks by gorilla-like blacks who think of noting else but rape, pillage, robbery, and mayhem. So, as time passes, the West might revert to becoming walled communities again where good people are walled inside while bad people roam outside.
Of course, you don’t have to build physical walls to enforce a kind of walliness. Take N.Y. Real estate prices are so high in some places that only the mega-rich can afford to live there; wallets are better than walls. And through Section 8 programs, a whole bunch of urban Negroes have been moved out to other communities so that middle class, working class, and poor whites(in generally conservative communities) will have to bear the brunt of black violence. In the Old West, it was impossible to build massive walls against savage Indians since there was just too much space. Besides, the white man had something more effective than walls to keep the Indians away: the moving wall called the armed cavalry and lots of guns. Columns of cavalry armed with firearms would sweep across the plains and flush out Indian savages who, of course, were fighting to preserve their sacred land from stupid white men who conquered all that great land just to lose it eventually to a bunch of hideous Jews, disgusting Negroes, pansy gays, and Corona-swilling Mexicans.

Anyway, there is something to be said about walls, and if we extend the meaning, ‘walls’ are all around us and within us. Our clothes are kinda like walls. Our skin and flesh are walls that keep in and protect our innards. Most animals have natural walls in the form of scales, shells, armor, fur, and hide. We use words to communicate but words serve as walls too, for words are symbols of things than the actual thing. Thus, words are used to hide and protect as well to share and communicate. And walls are essential to certain activity like peeing and shitting. Who wants to use an open air toilet? Even within the restroom, there are stalls to shield one pisser from another. Even open space can serve as walls. In Vietnam War, jungles served as bridges from North to South for the communists, which is why Americans sprayed Agent Orange all over the place to defoliate entire jungles so that the enemy could be seen better and blown away with machine guns. Thus, open spaces served as more effective barriers against North Vietnamese troops than the densest jungles did. And paradoxically, walls may convey ‘vastness’ more effectively than empty spaces could: a kind of eternity through blockage. Wandering in a patch of forest, one could believe that the trees go on forever. But if all the trees were chopped down and cleared into open space, the place would look finite, just a piece of ground from where one stands to the other visible side. This is why even if one becomes lost in a small forest, it seems like an endless maze. You don’t know how far the forest goes in any direction; it’s like in THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. Trees and ridges seem to stretch out in all directions indefinitely.
Dull spaces can come to life with the creative use of barriers. I remember going to a Boys-and-Girls Club — then known just as Boys’ Club — Halloween fest. I knew every inch of the building, but on that night, the lights were turned low and a maze of paper boxes was constructed through the hallway, and it was like another world.

Heian court culture used walls as a kind of art-form and indeed played a crucial role in defining Japan’s paradoxical relation to wall-iness. In one way, Japan was defined as a society of strict barriers, e.g. the caste and royal system of Japan came to be stricter than anything in the rest of East Asia — though to be sure, during the long Tokugawa period, many samurai turned to other professions, and the merchant/artisan class rose to new heights catering to the samurai class; in some ways, it was easier for military men to go into business since they were not intellectually/ideologically anti-business as Confucian scholars were. Though there was an entrenched privileged class of scholar-bureaucrats in China and Korea, theoretically anyone could rise to scholar status by intelligence, erudition, and the attainment of proper manners. Thus, even lowly merchants could use their wealth to educate their sons to rise to scholar-bureaucratic-gentry rank. Also, being born into a scholar-bureaucrat family was no guarantee that one would to be a scholar-bureaucrat since everyone(at least theoretically)had to pass the Imperial examinations.
As for the royalty in China, though emperors could be said to have the Divine Mandate of Heaven to rule, there was no guarantee of permanence, and emperors were not seen as deities. Chinese emperors had real power, and so when the political order was overturned, the emperor fell and a new dynasty took power. Thus, though Chinese civilization is much older than Japan’s, the Japanese monarchy has lasted much longer than any Chinese dynasty. Paradoxically, the Japanese Imperial system lasted for so long precisely because the Emperor didn’t have much power; it didn’t fall along with the political order since it maintained its detachment from political power and vice versa. Thus, even when one political order made way for another, the Emperor accepted the new rulers, and in turn, the new rulers relied on Imperial authority to ‘spiritually’ legitimize their rise to power. Thus, Tokugawa dynasty maintained the Imperial system, and the Meiji reformers who overthrew the Tokugawa authority also maintained the Imperial system. And even the Americans allowed the Imperial system to continue though the Emperor had to relinquish any claim of divine authority or lineage.
Certain orders are better positioned for long-term survival if they lack than have real power. Take the British monarchy compared to the French and Russian monarchy. The latter two wielded tremendous power at one time, and so, when the big change came, the kings were destroyed along with the old system. But in England, where the power of the monarchy had gradually been slipping through the ages, the monarchy was allowed to survive even as the British society moved towards greater rule of law and democracy. Given the sad state of UK today, I’ll bet the Queen wishes she’d been killed than reign over a nation of idiots controlled by politically correct race-traitor elites who are owned by globalist Jews.

Anyway, rigid hierarchy and barriers became the hallmarks of Japan, and yet another side of Japan abhorred barriers and walls as crude, bulky, and graceless; and this sensibility reached its apex in the Heian court. Consisting of an elite enamored with poetry, elegance, refinement, mistiness, subtlety, and such qualities, the Heian elites disdained big, blunt, cumbersome things like thick walls and solid barriers. And yet, Japanese court culture was nothing without hierarchy, separateness, and distinctions. Thus, a compromise was reached by doing away with big, thick, & blunt walls and replacing them with what amounted to thinvisible mind-screens. Thus, a man and a woman could be divided only by a thin paper wall, but it was like she was in her world and he in his own, and the two realms were separate dimensions. And since even the slightest false movement could puncture a hole in the paper wall or door, both had to be mindful of their every move. (To be sure, there was something of this in Chinese culture too, at least according to an episode of KUNG FU where the David Carradine character recalls how his blind Shaolin master taught him to walk on rice paper without leaving a mark.) By removing, refining, or minimizing physical barriers, Japanese elites had to compensate by developing a stronger sense of psychological and behavioral barriers. This is why Japanese will oftentimes find Americans ‘rude’ in Japan. The American simply thinks he or she is moving freely, but to Japanese eyes, the big stupid ‘gaijin’ lunk or lunkette is not minding the invisible walls and barriers that almost all Japanese are trained to recognize from childhood. Because Japan has been a small nation with communities crowded with people, the need to be careful and mindful of one’s manners and behavior became ever more important; and the smallness of the Japanese also served this purpose well — if most Japanese were built like Hawaiians, I don’t see how something like Heian culture could have developed. Of course, crowdedness alone doesn’t create the kind of mind-set prevalent in Japan — after all, Haiti and Bangladesh are over-crowded but no one seems to have any manners there — , but it became of paramount importance in Japan because of the social ideal set forth by Heian culture that came to trickle down even to the peasant level to some extent(just like elite British culture came to impact even the manners of the lower elements in England, that is before they were ‘liberated’ into punkers and/or yobs). For Japanese to be refined and well-mannered in crowded settings, each Japanese had to be taught to be very careful of what he or she said and did. But it was also important not to notice — or pretend not to notice — certain things for the sake of propriety.

The Japanese way is reflected in the Japanese language itself, which I don’t know, but from its sounds one might surmise that it is a more finely tailored and crafted language than other Asian languages — and arguably the only one that is pleasant to the ear. Cantonese Chinese is awful — and Vietnamese can drive you up the wall — , and Mandarin Chinese is passable/tolerable, but it sounds like the speaker has vinegar in his mouth, muttering a lot of ‘shhhhhuuuuh’ and ‘urrrrrrr’. Though there seems to be refined ways to speak Mandarin, the effect is still more like an odor than fragrance. Wiki says Japanese, along with Korean, Mongolian, Turkic, Hungarian, and Finnish, belongs to the Altaic family of languages. Grammatically, Japanese and Korean are supposed to be similar, but if you’ve seen Korean movies, Korean language comes across as blunt, crude, hill-billy-ish, and rough. Maybe original Japanese was more like Korean, but the Japanese eventually fine-tuned the sounds to the point where it became neater. But for every gain, there is a loss; and Japanese is one of the most incomplete sounding languages in the world; there are too many sounds that are missing and/or cannot be spoken. But this can be said of much of Japanese culture as well: literature, painting, architecture, gardening, music, and etc. As fine as they are, they lack fullness. Japanese, in an effort to remove everything but the essence and poetry, partly threw the baby out with the bathwater. Japanese culture lacks the Russian thing of ‘much-ness’, which is why SEVEN SAMURAI is such a remarkable film for its soul is as Russian as Japanese — but then, Kurosawa credited Dostoevsky as the biggest inspiration on his creative life.

Why did something like Heian culture develop? Was it because a lot of Japanese were natural dorks and geeks? Just look at Emperor Hirohito. Or did a bunch of Japanese gays gain control of the culture? And how was such a fine culture able to merge so seamlessly with the brutal/ruthless culture of the warrior caste? Was it because both were more about technique and style than about morality? Though the Chinese developed a very refined culture as well, there was a strong moral element to everything the Chinese did. Chinese elites would put on fine manners and act fancy but as an expression of Confucian virtue of civility. Thus, Chinese style was never just style-for-style-sake. By exhibiting proper manner and style, the Chinese member of the elite was showing that he was a highly cultured person who would make Confucius proud if the great sage were alive. And due to this moral element, Chinese refined culture was always seen in opposition to the warrior/soldier culture. Refined scholars with fancy manners were for moral persuasion(ideally anyway) whereas warriors ruled by force and coercion. Thus, the Chinese never developed a powerful military. The famous ART OF WAR by Sun Tzu is actually pretty worthless. It says that an army should be like water flowing through rocks. It’s a very passive view of military strategy and no way to win battles. Though an army has to be mindful of circumstances and environments, the real key of a true military is to overcome obstacles, which is why Hitler defeated the French so quickly in WWII. And Mao won over Chiang in the Civil War because Mao’s forces attacked like hurricanes whereas Chiang’s watery forces meandered all over the place. China became a great nation not because of its fighting prowess but its geographical isolation from most other aggressive peoples; Chinese needed to worry only about the Mongols, but as it turned out, there weren’t that many Mongols and they pretty much looked like the Chinese. Compare China with Rome. Ancient Italy was small but it fought and defeated one great empire after another. Chinese couldn’t even defeat the Vietnamese; even the ragtag Hellenics under Alexander were more successful in northwestern India.

Though Mongol invaders were eventually absorbed into the Chinese order, the traditional Chinese never developed a way to merge military culture with refined culture. The Japanese did achieve such a unity, and it may have been due to the limited influence of Confucian/moral element on the Japanese elites. (Perhaps Japanese made a more ‘creative’ — as opposed to a moral — use of Confucianism because it wasn’t intrinsic to Japanese history/culture. Since Confucianism arose in China, Chinese came to see it as their own, and so Confucianism came to be absorbed into the lifeblood of the Chinese. It was their mother’s milk. To the Japanese, Confucianism was a foreign import, a blood transfusion from another body. Thus, Japanese didn’t so much see it as essential to Japan as useful to Japan. So, instead of imbibing it whole, Japanese made ‘creative’ use of it, accepting what it liked and rejecting what it didn’t. The Japanese bloodstream resisted as much as it accepted Confucianism, or it accepted only the nutrients in the Confucian blood that seemed compatible with the Japanese blood. Instead of wholly giving themselves to a foreign idea — as Europeans did with Christianity that arose amongst Jews in the Near East — , the Japanese way was more discerning. And perhaps this will save the Japanese from political correctness too. Ever since Europeans adopted Christianity wholesale, they developed the attitude of utterly rejecting their own in favor of the great Other. Instead of syncretizing Christianity with elements of indigenous pagan culture, Europeans tried to get rid of everything native to their culture. This happened less in the South and more in the North. South, because of its rich heritage of Higher Pagan Culture of Greeks and Romans, simply couldn’t reject the entirety of their pagan history with its great sculptures, temples, and etc. So, Catholicism, even while rejecting paganist beliefs, adopted paganist forms. Northern Europe had been peopled by Germanic and Celtic Barbarians. Theirs was a low pagan culture, and as such, seen as having no artistic or cultural value. And so the coming of Christianity meant everything indigenous had to be destroyed as brutish, ugly, vile, and crude. So, even though Christianity entered Southern Europe first, it affected Northern Europe more profoundly for it could start on a blank slate; it was easier to wipe away low paganism than high paganism. And during the Renaissance, Europe looked back to Classical Greece and Rome, not to Germanic Barbarism. Low paganism made a comeback only in the 19th century with the rise of German nationalism — in its search for a unique cultural identity — and the great operas of Wagner that retold the ancient German myths in grand form. Wagner’s music turned low paganism into high art. The rise of Romanticism and its obsession with instinct and passion also helped. Anyway, the triumph of Christianity — a foreign religion and idea — was absolute in Europe for nearly 1500 years. This willingness to reject one’s own culture while taking on a new one is now being replayed in the 21st century with the new religion of ‘diversity’. If Old Europe gave up its indigenous culture to embrace a foreign culture that originated from an outcast Jewish sect, New Europe is giving up on its indigenous race to embrace foreign races who are being invited to flood the European continent that had given birth to the white race over tens of thousands of years. 10,000s of yrs in the making to be wiped out in a 100 yrs. But this is also a replay of the European imperialist project. Alexander the Great, the Romans, and later the Spanish, British, and French tried to colonize and racially intermix the entire world. Having ultimately failed in their imperialist project around the world, it’s as if they’re trying to achieve the goal in Europe itself. If the entire world cannot be ruled and colonized by Europeans, maybe European elites can rule over a Europe that looks like a diverse colonized imperial domain — even if it’s the non-whites who are colonizing the land of the whites. Or maybe Europeans just wanna become the 51st state of America. Since they love American pop culture dominated by Jews and Negroes, maybe they want Europe to become more like America, and that means ‘diversity’. They seem blind to all the problems America has because of the Jews and Negroes. When 80% of Germans and 90% of Frenchmen approve of Obama, you know the white race is finished as a whole. White women wanna have babies with Negroes, white men wanna whank off to Negroes humping white women, and gays order white boys how to think and how to feel.)

Though Japan borrowed a lot from China — including moral philosophy — , the Heian court was known for its almost nihilistic devotion to art, poetry, ritual of romance, and etc. Thus, expressive style came to matter more than moral substance, and as such, it wasn’t as judgmental about political morality. The Heian royalty’s main obsession was to be stylishly beautiful, and the samurai’s main obsession was to develop the most effective style of combat. It was the nihilism of beauty meets the nihilism of brutality. Heian court expressed the feminine principle — somewhat fitting since some of most important deities of Japan were female — while the samurai order expressed the male principle. Thus, one might say they possessed opposite — but not antagonistic — attributes that proved to be complementary(just like man and woman are attracted to one another for their differences). And in their nihilistic obsessiveness, there was an inherent violence that both sides understood. The Heian hero and heroine were willing to die for love, and the samurai was willing to die for his master(even if he had to slit open his belly). For this reason, the first two volumes of Mishima’s SEA OF FERTILITY tetralogy begin with expressions of Heian and samurai principles. In the first novel SPRING SNOW, a refined young man who’s crazy about beauty dies of love in the snow. In RUNAWAY HORSES, a neo-samurai assassinates a ‘corrupt’ politician and then commits ritual suicide in the name of the Emperor. The third part, TEMPLE OF DAWN, deals with Buddhism, another important strain in Japanese culture, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of that one. And all throughout the four volumes is a character who, I assume, represents the rather ineffectual intellectual — Confucian in old times and a rational lawyer in modern times — who tries to ‘make sense’ of the world around him. (The problem is that the core of Japaneseness cannot be understood. It can only be felt and known as an art or an act.) The thinker/moralist/intellectual may live longer but he won’t live and die beautifully like the young heroes of SPRING SNOW and RUNAWAY HORSES. (It was important for Mishima to die at the age of 45 before his body aged and withered. An intellectual himself, he didn’t want to go on living as a thinker/writer whose mind carried on while the body faded. He had to meet a violent death, and this death had to be poetic. Very Japanese.) The last part of the tetralogy, DECAY OF THE ANGEL, seems like a condemnation of modern and material Japan, but in a way, it’s almost as if Japanese history had come full circle for the decrepit and decaying young figure in the final installment is also like a decadent soul of the Heian era, a world so enclosed and inbred that it eventually had to no choice but to dissipate. Indeed, the samurai caste was able to gain power over the royal court because the latter had grown too detached from the world due its nihilistic immersion in a world of dream clouds, mist, shadows, and etc. Thus, oddly enough, one could say the samurai caste even saved Heian culture because, left to its own devices, it might have ended up like an opium addict lost in its own mind cloud. Samurai order imbued the court with some sense of discipline, and in turn, the Heian culture imbued the ruffian samurai with fine manners that turned warrior culture into an art form in its own right. Whether cutting paper, tuna, or heads, Japanese came up with the proper aesthetic way. (In a way, the fusion of warrior discipline, spiritual essence, and aesthetics proved to be complementary in Japanese cultural history for each element, on its own, has a logical tendency to lurch toward self-destruction. If the way of the warrior becomes paramount, things fall apart, what with savages or barbarians running amok looting and sacking stuff, as have usually been the case in Detroit, Haiti, and much of black Africa. Of course, most stupid white liberals cannot accept this race-ist truth, and so they try to prop up the cult of political correctness to maintain their social fantasies in their gated white communities or elevated condo realms. The problem of spirituality-as-spirituality is it tends to be fantasist, eventually surrendering to either solipsism or escapism of the mind — or even to the primal senses if the objects of worship tend to be deities associated with wanton pleasure and sex. The reason why the 60s experiment with ‘sacred drugs’ failed is because it was too easy, too accessible, and too pleasurable. While some people in the 50s and 60s may have gained something of value through hallucinogens and the like — Aldous Huxley’s DOORS OF PERCEPTION and HEAVEN AND HELL are interesting books, but then, he was a man of intellectual discipline — , but the whole ‘drug culture’ thing imploded by the early 70s or even the late 60s. There was too much easy access, hedonism, and ‘anarchy’ and self-indulgence. Every teenage dropout smoked some pot, dropped some acid, listened to the Beatles, and thought he or she had seen the great divine who was some super hippie krishna in heaven. Whatever promise spirituality holds for mankind, without form and discipline it easily becomes shapeless, which is why religions necessarily grew around certain spiritual ideas in order to serve as buttresses or dams to contain the boundless or formless spirit. Just like the soul of each person needs to be contained within his or her body, spirit must be contained within a church or temple in order for it to survive and have meaning. There has to be commitment. The oft-heard motto, “I’m spiritual but not religious” is somewhat specious. It’s like a college student saying, “I’m for knowledge but not majoring in anything.” Every college student eventually has to commit to a major. ‘Spirituality’ and ‘knowledge’ in their generic sense can mean everything and nothing. It’s like saying, “I’m for love but not for marriage.” But eventually, people have to commit, especially if they plan to raise a family. Imagine someone saying, “I’m for humanity but not for nations.” But for the world to function, there needs to be nations and people committed to their nations. Of course, the danger of religion is dogmatism and suppression of imagination in favor of orthodoxy. If spirituality is religion without discipline, religion is often spirituality without organicism. Religion is too often a mummified version of spirituality entombed in a museum. On the other hand, without the discipline of religious teachings, commitment, hierarchy, canons, and organization, no spirituality has any chance of surviving and/so sustaining a community. Had there been no Christian Church, the story of Jesus Christ would have faded in time. People who say, “I’m spiritual but not religions” really don’t know what the hell or heaven they’re talking about. They seem to think spirituality is just any fancy idea about the ‘mystery’ or the ‘divine’, but such spirituality is fleeting and shapeless. And the New Age notion that all forms of spiritualities and religions share and expound the same ideas, values, and visions is just thumb-sucking genericism. While all forms of spirituality do share some common values and insights, they are as interesting for their differences as similarities. One might say that religion is the regimentation or militarization of spirituality, but this was necessary to some extent in order for spiritual ideas and visions to take shape and maintain form. Ideally, a religion should be more like an enlightened modern zoo or garden with living things — a balanced realm of the orderly and the organic — than like a museum or mausoleum preserving mummified things. Anyway, the failure of the 60s drug culture, despite all its paeans to spirituality, should warn us about the dangerous and inherently escapist logic of spirituality. Spirituality needs to be contained within a form if it’s to be useful; the trick is to make the form elastic than rigid. We are nothing without our bodies, but our bodies oftentimes feel like prisons. We feel bodily pain; body grows old; many people don’t like their bodies; we must labor using our bodies. And so there is a natural tendency for us to ‘fly out’ of our bodies. But without bodies, where would our ‘souls’ belong? After death, in Heaven perhaps if you believe in such realm. But where when we are alive? Through spirituality or drugs, people gain temporary illusions of escaping from their bodies. Thus, a person in throes of spiritual rapture/ecstasy believes his or her soul is one with the divine, a kind of ‘higher orgasm’. And people under the influence of certain drugs feel like their souls have left the body and entered a higher realm. Of course, there are other kinds of drugs — especially used by cheating athletes — that make one feel more bodily strength and stamina, which can be sexual as well as athletic, but this too is, paradoxically, a form of escapism for it allows individuals to escape from their natural bodily limitations and feel/run/hit/jump/hump like god-like superhuman heroes. A person who uses a certain drug may gain the stamina to run 20 miles instead of just 10, but he too is trying to escape the natural bounds of what he’s really capable. Easy spirituality without discipline becomes like an addictive drug. In the documentary film MARJOE, we see old folks attending church just to feel this immediate rapture with the Lord. Their reasons for faith seem hardly different from those of young people at the Rolling Stones concert in GIMME SHELTER. The feelings of easy spirituality/drugs are so pleasurable and ‘orgasmic’ that a kind of infantilism takes over, and the person can become useless to society and to himself/herself. Related to spirituality is aestheticism, especially in music. Traditionally, beauty has been central to art. The arts deify/spiritualize and sensualize beauty, thus producing ‘orgasmic’ objects for the eyes and ears. If beauty is a form of higher or intenser pleasure, one might say that sexual orgasm is a kind of beauty felt through the loins, edible ‘orgasm’ is felt through the mouth, and aesthetic ‘orgasm’ is felt through the eyes and ears, often through art though it can be found through the beauty of nature and man/woman. Sexuality is so powerful because it combines the orgasm of the flesh with the ‘orgasm’ of sensory perception, i.e. a person derives pleasure from not only finding another person to be beautiful in face, body, and/or voice but to be ‘beautiful’ through bodily sensation. So, if a person has sex with someone he or she finds to be beautiful, the pleasure of perception[seen beauty] merges with the pleasure of penetration[felt beauty]. One might even say all forms of pleasure — and noticing beauty is also a form of pleasure — grew out of the genitals, or what might be called ‘genetals’ as genes are essentially reproductive codes. The whole point of life was to duplicate/replicate itself over and over and multiply. Thus, a single-cell organism will replicate over and over. When simple organisms came to rely on sex to reproduce themselves, they were essentially dicks and pussies floating in the water. They were essentially reproductive organs without other parts of the body. Gradually, dicks and pussies developed other parts of the bodies like limbs, lungs, eyes, and eventually brains. When organisms were only dicks and pussies, they only needed to search one another and screw. But as dicks and pussies became more complex and grew other organs to better survive, other parts of the organs also needed to feel pleasure in order to ‘want to live’. Thus, pleasure of genetal origin spread to other parts of the bodies as well. The most complex creature is the human being. Since humans cannot be having sex all the time, they need to find other pleasures in life in order to work and live. Now, if humans could ONLY find pleasure through sex, they would hate life except for the chance to ‘fuc*’. So, the orgasmic essence had to spread to other parts of the body. Thus, even though there is no clitoris inside the throat — despite the gimmick of a notorious early 70s movie — , there is great pleasure to be found through eating and drinking. Though eyes cannot have orgasms like the pud or poon, it can take in great delight by looking at something beautiful. Ears, on the other hand, come close to sexual organs in the amount of pleasure they can produce, and there’s been ample proof of this, especially with Beatlemania where young girls went nearly crazy with ‘eargasms’. Anyway, because art has traditionally been about beauty, pleasure, and/or sacredness — a sense of holy rapturous communion with the divine — , it has had a tendency to lead people astray, and this was true of the Dionysian cult. In Rome, the spirit of Bacchanalia eventually gave rise to fat proto-Italians drinking and eating too much like in Fellini’s SATYRICON, eventually indulging themselves to self-destruction. This was one of the reasons why Jews banned all idols; people might derive too much pleasure from them — like the crazy Hebrews in the orgy scene with the Golden Calf in TEN COMMANDMENTS — and lose their way. And this danger was evident in Heian culture as well, what with noble elites growing decadent with too much poetry, moon-gazing, romantic longing, and such stuff. To be sure, the Heians were not wild folks into boorish singing, dancing, drinking, and orgies. Theirs was a culture of restraint, strict form, and discipline, but their obsession with beauty and poetry was removed from the realities of the world. So, the Japanese found ways to make the elements of warrior toughness, spirituality, and artistic beauty complement one another. Warrior discipline would imbue spirituality and aesthetics with order and structure. Spirituality would lend higher meaning to martial culture and artistic expression. And aesthetics would beautify the warrior caste and spiritual expression. There was something of this in Western culture and history as well — indeed in all cultures — , but the Japanese managed to arrive at a balance where the three elements were perhaps most finely balanced and complementary. In contrast, the West never arrived at the balance. Catholicism grew too opulent and indulgent, and the fiery reaction to it was Protestantism that, in some cases, was extremely puritanical and rejected/smashed idols even more than the Jews did. And though the military order, spiritual order, and artistic order all saw one another as essential and necessary to the overall harmony in Japan, there never was a perfect sense of balance and order in the West. The church and the military caste found a way to co-exist, but each side jockeyed for superiority, and the tensions were never resolved. In a way, this may have been better for the West in the long run since progress comes from dynamism and tensions. Though Japan had arrived at a more harmonic model, it might also have robbed Japan of the necessary dialectics that could push it toward new intellectual, spiritual, artistic, and social possibilities. To an extent, the rise of modernism in the arts was a kind of neo-puritanism. Traditionally, people created arts for pleasure — the ecstasy of beauty and/or the comfort of sacredness. Pleasure is essentially an emotional/sensual quality, and though pleasure can be had in many ways, there are basic rules as to what is or feels pleasurable. Eating pizza is surely more pleasurable than chewing on glass. Listening to the Bach or the Beatles is more pleasurable than listening to a baby crying, Patti Smith singing, or most avant garden music. Watching THE GODFATHER is more pleasurable than watching JEANNE DIELMAN. We like pleasure, and so pleasure is good, right? Not so fast. There is another element of Western culture, especially rooted in the spiritual culture of Judaism/Christianity, that is skeptical, doubtful, or even phobic about pleasure. Some say pleasure favors the fleeting flesh over the eternal spirit. Some say the Devil seduces us through fleshly desires and pleasures. Thus, pleasure came to be associated with sin. And so, physical pain and suffering are even seen as ennobling in Christianity. Though Jesus was a sad sight to behold when He was whupped real bad, He would have rather felt the pain of life than its pleasures. [To be sure, pleasure can also be derived from pain, as masochists know only too well. In the French film THERESE, the young nun finds a perverse kind of pleasure in her painful denial and suppression of bodily pleasures. And there is an element of ecstasy and passion in the images of the Crucified Jesus. Even if Jesus would never have been for ‘gay marriage’, He might have at least understood the appeal of sado-masochism. Even though Mel Gibson’s PASSION OF THE CHRIST was a big hit among Christian conservatives, I wouldn’t be surprised if the sado-masochist — or masochRist — community got something out of it too. Pleasure is so essential to life that when it is denied in an Empire of Pain, people will find ways to find pleasure through pain. And perhaps, this is part of the reason why some SWPL white dorks have become addicted to their racial demise. Since the politically correct cult of ‘anti-racism’ forbids them to take pleasure from racial pride, they’ve found a way to derive pleasure from racial humiliation, and over time, they’ve become addicted to this pain/humiliation as the new source of pleasure. It’s like some white guys are addicted to the notion of some big Negro doing their wives. They can only get off through humiliation.] In LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, Dafoe’s Jesus was offered a happy life with wife and kids, but he shunned all that as the work of the Devil and crawled back to the cross to be crucified, feel the pain, and die — in flesh — in order to triumph spiritually. Spiritual puritans also rejected most works of spiritual art — in music or idols/icons — for such expressions temporalized and/or materialized what should belong in the realm of God. Thus, the very notion of ‘spiritual art’ was an oxymoron since true spirit cannot and should not be expressed sensually in the world of men. All people could do was pray, be devout, and live a life of faith so that their spirts could enter the realm of Heaven and only then enjoy the happiness and comfort of being one with God. This is why some Protestant sects wore plain clothes, built Churches that looked like barracks, and forbade even the singing of hymns in the Church. Even food had to be bland as possible, which is why the puritanical women in BABETTE’S FEAST — the film as I haven’t read the book — nearly panic when they taste some scandalous French cooking. In the modern era, Western man no longer believed in God and spirituality, and so neo-puritanism could no longer reject pleasure in the name of the higher spirit. Thus, modernist neo-puritanism rid art of pleasure by intellectual conceits, giving rise to paintings that boggle the eye, sculptures and installation arts that cause headaches, ‘music’ that drive you batty, and movies that make you fall asleep. Now, of course, we are only talking about one kind of modernist art as there have been plenty the purpose of which was to excite the senses in bold new ways. But the neo-puritanical wing of modernist art tended to disdain anything that gave people pleasure in the ‘conventional’, ‘reactionary’, ‘traditional’, ‘populist’, or ‘bourgeois’ sense. Since the new religion was ‘radicalism’ and since one of the biggest sins according to the radical faith was ‘reactionary apathetic complacency’ that supposedly aided and abetted the established order of ‘racism’, ‘sexism’, ‘patriarchy’, ‘heteronormative homophobia’, and the like, the True Art of Today and the Future — as opposed to Evil Yesterday — had to counter and challenge our assumptions about comfort, pleasure, and happiness. Then, it is not surprising that there are fools who pretend that they really get something out of later Godard films or something like JEANNE DIELMAN, which offers zero pleasure-of-any-kind to eyes/ears but is supposed to have ‘profound’ meanings if you ‘think’ about the subtext and context of why a middle class woman is seen peeling potatoes, brewing coffee, polishing shoes, and making soup for 3 ½ hours before she finally stabs some guy to death. Supposedly, it has something to do with feminist critique/liberation, patriarchy, and something or the other, but if the message is really that important, shouldn’t Akerman have just taken out an ad in a newspaper and written an op-ed? Personally, I’d rather spend an entire week with the crazy Lutheran family in FANNY AND ALEXANDER than sit through JEANNE DIELMAN again.)

The dichotomy and harmony of hard barriers and soft barriers made for a strange — and even pathological — emotional realities in Japan. Japanese have, paradoxically, been the most emotionless and emotional people on Earth. Ideally, a Japanese is supposed to be beyond emotions, above emotions, or fully in control of emotions. Though romance was a big feature of Heian court culture, it wasn’t romance in the Western sense of overflowing emotions of the ROMEO AND JULIET or WUTHERING HEIGHTS variety. Heian noblemen may be mad about love, but they are more in love with the ritual, art, and poetry of love than love itself. In TALE OF GENJI, some of the great loves involve people who don’t even see one another. They see silhouettes of the object of their love through the paper screen and/or exchange notes of poetry or some such. One guy sees only the hand of the woman he falls in love with; so, he’s not so much in love with the actual woman but with his own poetic dream of the woman. Even in the modern era, the famous novelist Junichiro Tanizaki’s novels were filled with foot fetishes; it’s like the Japanese are afraid to take the wholeness of things; they prefer to take just a little piece of the whole and then build poetic fantasies around it; after all, rarely is a whole thing perfect in all its features; so, why not just take the piece or part that is perfect — a hand or a foot — and imagine the rest to one’s desire? The character in TALE OF GENJI is like Narcissus in love not so much with his own image but with his imagination. Thus, even though they are willing to die for love, it’s love as a kind of art. They’re not so much lovers driven by emotions as artisans of emotions who craft love into a kind of rite.

And samurai are also supposed to be above emotions. In SHOGUN, when Toranaga(Toshiro Mifune) tests his son’s loyalty by ordering him to kill his children, the son suppresses his shocked emotions, says nothing, bows to his father, and goes off to kill his kids(who turn out to be safely hidden by Toranaga). And though the son’s wife is horrified, she doesn’t complain but stifles her tears. In the perfect system of the Japanese samurai order, everything is supposed to operate according to plan, hierarchy, or command of superiors. There is supposed to be no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. If one must do something, it must be done without emotions.
But there is no such thing as a perfect system, and so there arose the need for samurai to sometimes express their displeasure with the system. Expressing displeasure to inferiors was no problem since inferiors were supposed do as told — even kill themselves if they violated the social code. But it was a much more delicate matter to express one’s displeasure to one’s superiors. This was a problem with all traditional social orders but especially problematic in Japan since the code and culture of the samurai demanded utter obedience and conformity. Thus, there was no room for overt emotions in much of Japanese culture and society. But paradoxically, because emotions were bottled up and suppressed with such intensity — and not given proper cultivation and training — , when they came out, there was an element of infantile desperation about them that suddenly made the Japanese the most emotional people on Earth. Therefore, often in Japanese films, a whole bunch of characters will stifle or hide their emotions, but when something triggers the release of the emotions, everyone will melt into a sobbing puddle of tears. And, the more the Japanese try to suppress this flowing of emotions, the more emotional they become. In some ways, watching THE LOYAL 47 RONIN by Kenji Mizoguchi is a discomfiting experience because of the tension between the ideal of harmony and the necessity of disobedience/disturbance. A lord has been condemned to death, and there’s little the clan can do to appeal to higher authorities. Even so, some of samurai do beseech the higher authorities, and it makes for moments fraught with a powerful sense of unease because when the higher authority says NO, it means NO. If an inferior pushes on, it is not only a serious breach of etiquette but a violation of the code. But if the inferior truly feels a great wrong has been committed, he must risk everything to make his voice heard. But he also knows that he’s acting shamefully — and even embarrassing the superior — with his violation of social form. A part of him presses on like a tough samurai warrior who must speak up for his ‘wronged’ master, but another part of him squeals like a little girl since it’s unheard of for a social inferior to keep pressing on the superior already said NO. He tries to counterbalance words of disobedience with emotions of utter obedience. He pleads to the superior for reconsideration but by bowing ever lower and speaking in an increasingly whimpering tone. Paradoxically, the more one disobeys, the more one has to prove obedience through a show of utterly slavish emotions. In a way, the scene is a microcosm of the entire story of the 47 Ronin for they disobey authority in the name of higher obedience to it.

Thus, THE LOYAL 47 RONIN isn’t only about right vs wrong, etiquette vs code, immediate loyalty(to one’s master) vs larger loyalty(to the Shogunate). It is also about emotion vs emotionlessness. It is also about impulsiveness vs calculation. One aspect of Bushido says when one’s clan has been dishonored, the members of the clan must attack the enemy regardless of whether the attack will succeed or not. What matters is the ‘pure spirit’ of the act than the outcome of the act. Thus, some critics of the Japanese legend have said that the 47 ronin didn’t really act like samurai since they’d laid low and cunningly planned their attack before finally doing so. But surely, no warrior should be a dumbass. All warriors should fight to win, not just to fight to “prove one’s purity”. And, to the extent that the 47 ronin, even after almost two years, were still committed to their plan, one could argue that their motives were ‘pure’. It is a fascinating tale because there are so many reflections and reverse-reflections of meanings off its mirrored angles. Every character, every action, and every deed have multiple meanings that can be seen as heroic, villainous, obedient, disobedient, noble, ignoble. Though the 47 ronin came to be remembered as heroes through countless re-telling, they could just as easily have been made into rogues and villains. There’s an Rashomon-like element as to its moral truths. And as to the actual historical record, some even doubt if the official struck by the young lord was really corrupt.

Though Mizoguchi’s film is not an action movie in the conventional sense — much of it is very slow — , it is about action as the art of patience. Though samurai are trained to strike lightning fast in combat, the preparation is as important in Japanese culture as the action itself. Most sumo bouts end in a few seconds, but the rivals take a long time to prepare for the match. They climb the dojo or mound, stare at one another, wipe their faces, throw salt, stare some more, wipe some more, and on and on, until they finally smash into one another.

And in a samurai duel, two guys could just stare at one another for a long time and barely move, all the while making slight adjustments to their footwork and sword position. The ideal is to be patient but alert, waiting for that perfect moment to strike. An ideal kill should take a single strike, but to reach that moment of single strike may seem like an eternity.
Though SEVEN SAMURAI is a rousing action film, it takes its time to arrive at the moment when the battle finally begins. So, in that sense THE LOYAL 47 RONIN is a kind of an action film of the Japanese mind. There is almost no action, and much of the movie is slow-moving, but in every second of the film there is the sense of moving toward that ‘perfect moment’ for the strike. Because the film is so much about the patient preparation, the actual attack isn’t even shown. Given the arc of the film, it might have only served as an anti-climactic distraction.

When the samurai were not fighting — and the Tokugawa era was 250 yrs of peace — , their main duty was to remain loyal to their lords, and this meant not only fighting for their lords but serving their lords honorably, and that meant having the proper manners, attitudes, and attitudes — a kind of graceful prostration before superiors. In such a world, sudden or spontaneous movements, words, and behavior weren’t allowed. The men were trained to stand, walk, sit, kneel, bow, and etc. in the correct manner at all times.
What makes THE LOYAL 47 RONIN discomfiting is that the samurai are itching to act fast and avenge their lords, but they must have patience and carry it out in the proper manner. It’s a film where the act of revenge is completed after the third hour, with the act not even being shown. And yet, there is a great contradiction within the samurai code that renders the young lord’s action as both correct and incorrect AND his men’s action as both correct and incorrect. A samurai is not supposed to think; he is supposed to act with the ‘purity of spirit’ for honor. Since the young lord felt his honor was offended by the corrupt old official, one could argue he acted like a ‘pure-spirited’ samurai since he struck the official without regard to consequences. And yet, another part of the samurai code says a samurai should always be in self-control and preserve the primacy of etiquette at all times. The 47 ronin did the opposite of what their lord did. Instead of rashly and ‘pure-spiritedly’ attacking the clan of the corrupt official, they calculatingly planned their operation over a long time. Thus, one might say they acted more like cunning weasels than pure-hearted samurai. Yet, in their patience, self-control, and undying commitment to the cause, they were truly like samurai.

Samurai, because they had to be artist-ritualist-poets-of-death, couldn’t be wild ruffians like Mongol hordes, Huns, or Germanic barbarians. One might say the samurai were more like Teutonic Knights or the Spartans — or the Nazi SS, which is why Heinrich Himmler was fascinated with the samurai order — , but samurai led a more aestheticized existence than the others. And because the samurai had to maintain this harmony of cherry-blossoming and blood-spurting, they could be even more unhinged and psychotic. (One of the most striking cinematic images of the last 20 yrs is from the final scene of GOHATTO, aka TABOO, directed by Nagisa Oshima, where a samurai fells with a single stroke a cherry tree in full blossom. It is at once frightful and beautiful.) In SEVEN SAMURAI, the most chilling moment is when Kyuzo — the best swordsman — says he wants to kill everyone in the village when he, along with others, discover that the farmers whose lives they’re protecting had hunted down defeated samurai. In some ways, Kyuzo is not only the most impressive samurai in terms of fighting prowess — he’s by far the best swordsman — but also the most admirable character. Though indispensable in the battle against the bandits, he never brags, is resolute and stoic, and fearless at all times. In a way, he’s the most samurai-ish samurai. And yet, these very positive qualities have their chilling opposites. He initially rejected the request to join the good fight to protect helpless farmers because he was more interested in his martial craft than using it for a moral purpose. And as fine a samurai he is, he is also a ronin. But, we wonder, is he in search of a new lord to serve — as a samurai ideally should — , or is he more interested in wandering from town to town, looking for duelists against whom to test his skills — something that smacks of narcissism and nihilism — , as was the case with the legendary Miyamoto Musashi? If most samurai were supposed to live and serve in the spirit of what might be called ‘martial piety’, Kyuzo seems to be more into the ‘art’ of the samurai than in the aspect of servitude to a lord or a higher cause. And even though he decided to join the good battle, we wonder if he did so for the farmers out of genuine good will or because he simply wanted to test his skills in real combat. The first time we see him, he’s fighting a kind of ‘practice duel’ with bamboo sticks with a bigger man. Kyuzo tells his opponent that he won the battle, whereupon the opponent, angry and humiliated, pulls out his real sword and is soon killed by Kyuzo in a real duel. Though Kyuzo was initially reluctant to fight with real swords — and his opponent was mainly to blame for acting rashly and demanding a rematch with real blades — , there is an intimation that, on some subtle level, Kyuzo provoked the man to act recklessly. First, in the practice duel, Kyuzo allowed the man to hit him on the shoulder with the bamboo stick while doing the same to the opponent. The opponent is willing to call it a tie and walk away, but Kyuzo insists that he won and says it in a manner that could only be taken as an insult. Kyuzo surely knows the importance of ‘face’ and ‘honor’ in Japan, and so the man is almost culturally compelled to draw his sword and demand a real duel, whereupon Kyuzo kills him with a single stroke. Kyuzo is a contradictory character. He is a pure samurai, but in being so pure, he’s almost unable or unwilling to live the samurai life, i.e. his real devotion is to the samurai art than to samurai duty. An ideal samurai is supposed to master martial skills to use them in service to his lord. But in Kyuzo’s case, the obsession to attain the best martial skills-and-attitudes is such that it’s as if he’d rather be an independent artist of martial skills than a loyal artisan who hones his skills to best serve his master. In some ways, Kyuzo is the most outstanding and most heroic of all the samurai, but he is also the coldest and least human. He’s commitment to the ideal of samurai-hood is such that he’s unable to think outside the box. So, when the samurai discover the truth about the farmers in SEVEN SAMURAI, it’s Kyzuo — or I think it’s him — who says he wants to kill every farmer in the village. And in a way, we know he’s capable of acting so ruthlessly for his entire being has been about perfect and ruthless samurai-hood.
In that tense situation, it is none other than the vulgar and even trashy phony samurai Kikuchiyo(Mifune) who, though lacking in samurai manners and dignity, blurts out the social truth about the world they live in, i.e. samurai may talk big about dignity and honor, but in reality, a lot of them have treated farmers hardly better than bandits have. And if not for Kiku’s outburst, the whole enterprise might have ended in disaster. (In the film, every character, partly as a personality-or-cultural archetype, has his positives and negatives. Kyuzo is great in some ways but limited in other ways. Kiku’s bad in some ways but necessary in other ways. Kiku saves the day in the scene mentioned above, but he later nearly brings about disaster by going solo and leaving his post. The teamwork operates because their different personalities and talents complement one another. It’s like what Rocky Balboa says of himself and Adrian: “I got gaps, she got gaps, and together we fill gaps.” The Jap gap is filled in SEVEN SAMURAI.) The great thing about SEVEN SAMURAI is that even though one crisis after another is resolved and the film finally moves toward a more-or-less happy ending — at least in the sense that the bandits are defeated despite the loss of four samurai — , there’s a palpable sense throughout the film that things might have gone the other way and victory was not inevitable. There’s no sense of guarantee that things will work out simply because action movies are supposed to have good guys win.

Because the Japanese mind and body are cultivated to function according to strict and rigid rules, Japanese can be both the most self-controlled and the most lacking-in-control people on Earth. When all seems to be well, everyone plays his part, and order is maintained. But when things are out-of-kilter and a Japanese is emotionally feels displaced from the social order of things, he or she goes into utter panic or paralytic mode. In the West, each person is encouraged to develop his sense of individuality, and so even when he is in a fish-out-of-tank situation — culturally, socially, emotionally, or psychologically — , he is better equipped to adapt to the new situation and improvise like Jack Nicholson or Parker Posey. But when a Japanese is pushed out of the harmonic zone, he or she feels all naked and doesn’t know what to do. (Or, at the other extreme, a Japanese outside the zone of Japanese culture might feel that he’s free from rules and act like he can do as he pleases. Japanese know rigid control or no control, but not the mode of semi-control so crucial to individualism.) The young lord’s attack on the corrupt official in THE LOYAL 47 RONIN was of this nature. When the old man said insulting things about the younger lord, the younger lord couldn’t resort to witty banter(like the British), cowboy tough talk(like Americans), flamboyant screaming and shouting(like the French or Italian), or the put-em-up swagger(of the Irish). He could either just sit quietly and take the abuse while his honor was stepped on, or he could blow up and act crazy, which was what he did. Westerners have many more gears in their social interaction and emotional expressions. They can kick into higher gear as the situation changes. Japanese have fixed gears. A superior is supposed to be stuck in the higher gear while an inferior is supposed to be stuck in the lower gear. If the superior insults the inferior, the inferior must try to bow lower and lower. But if the inferior cannot take the insult and can no longer just either bow lower, remain silent, or apologize, he blows up hysterically like some crazed woman. Once a Japanese loses control, it can be all the more crazy not only because of the bottled up fury but because of the shame of having lost control in a culture where self-control is of paramount importance. So, when a Japanese blows up in rage, he not only feels great fury but great shame for feeling the fury, and this is why an unhinged Japanese is some kind of a serious lunatic.

Anyway, it seems like we’ve deviated from the discussion of YOJIMBO, and so let’s return to the film, but before we do that, it’s worth noting the similarities and differences between Samurai Japan and Cowboy America, not least because many critics have noted the commonalities between samurai films and Western films. Now, it should be noted that most traditional samurai movies — especially those predating YOJIMBO — were not like American Western movies. Samurai films that resemble westerns — and indeed were inspired by them in style and narrative — really took off with YOJIMBO and others like it(though, to be sure, SEVEN SAMURAI, with its theme of hired fighters protecting a village, is like a Western and partially took inspiration from movies like SHANE and HIGH NOON). Most samurai movies before YOJIMBO tended to be about the samurai order than about free-wheeling masterless samurai, the Japanese counterpart to the wandering cowboy or gunfighter. The prominent feature of the Western hero is the pride of being his own man. Even as a sheriff, he stands tall and does his own thing, like Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON. And even if the gunslinger decides to fight for a community — as Alan Ladd does in SHANE — , he does it on his own terms and rides away alone. So, independence of action and spirit has been central to Westerns. In contrast, samurai were the knights of Japan and all about duty and obligation. They were not trained nor hired for their independence. No matter how skillful they were, they were supposed to bow down to their lords and fit into the group. Thus, a lot of films with samurai are not like Westerns at all. They are about social hierarchy, service, loyalty, and tradition. THRONE OF BLOOD is not a Japanese Western, and neither is KAGEMUSHA.

Paradoxically, the most violent samurai films tend to be set in the peaceful period of Tokugawa rule. Though a bloody civil war raged in Japan for over a century before unification under Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa, most of the violence was about armies vs armies. It was the stuff of war movies than Western films. War movies are plenty violent, but because of the sheer numbing normality of violence all around, the violence actually comes across as less violent than in some Westerns. In war, there’s fighting and mayhem everywhere, and so killing is nothing special. If a city blows up, that’s just a part of reality of war, and we get used to it. Also, war happens among kingdoms or nations, and so there’s little that is personal about the violence. THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY is a good demonstration of this. Though there’s war all around, what with Union soldiers and Confederate soldiers blowing up entire cities, it seems less violent than the gunfights among a handful of characters. Soldiers are taking orders and just doing their job impersonally whereas Western (anti)heroes have individual investment in the violence, and so the violence has a real kick. In some ways, Jack Palance killing the sodbuster in SHANE is more shocking than the sight of hundreds of soldiers falling to bullets in PATHS OF GLORY.

It was during the Tokugawa period, a time when many samurai lost their positions and were forced to roam freely as masterless samurai or ronin, that Japanese society developed the social reality that could later be used as material for the Japanese-style Western that might be called the Eastern. Thus, a story like YOJIMBO would have less likely during the warring period when a ronin would easily have found a place in a clan eager to recruit fighting men. YOJIMBO takes place in the 19th century, when peace had prevailed in Japan for nearly 250 yrs. Since there are no wars and since merchant class has made great strides in this new order(and since many elite samurai had long ago become merchants themselves), many samurai warriors have nothing to do(indeed not even a clan to serve) and some have no choice to roam around ‘freely’. It was under such circumstances that the samurai-as-ronin acquired some of the characteristics of the American Western hero.
But we must be mindful of the differences. The American Western hero was by nature and intention a freedom-loving and freedom-seeking pioneer-adventurer over a vast wilderness sparsely inhabited by American Indians. In contrast, masterless samurai were forced to be free — or ‘condemned to be free’ to borrow a phrase from Sartre, one of the most influential thinkers in postwar Japan. Japanese, not used to individual thought and freedom, found existentialism useful as a philosophy on how people in the modern world MUST be free and use the freedom to find new meanings and obligations in life. Also, if the American Western hero trekked over vast open territories that needed to be developed, masterless ronin roamed about not-so-large territories had already been tamed and settled for over a 1000 yrs.

But what the American cowboy/gunman and the masterless samurai of the late Tokugawa era had in common was the ambiguity of their place in a changing world though the content of the ambiguities were markedly different. The Western hero was an agent of a great civilization(originating in Europe with thousands of years of history behind it) but made his home in the wilderness. And though attracted to the wilderness — in his eagerness to escape the already tame, settled, and/or crowed areas of the East Coast, South, and Midwest — , his ultimate goal was to turn the vast wilderness into an extension of the civilized East Coast. There was excitement to be found in the new barbarism of the Wild West, but the Western hero knew the wilderness ultimately had to make way for towns and cities fit for womenfolk and childrenfolk.

The masterless samurai of 19th century Japan also lived in a contradictory world, an unsure and precarious one, not least due to the threats from Western powers, among which America was a main force. In a way, the encroachment of America’s ‘black ships’ commandeered by commodore Perry was an extension of America’s taming of the Wild West. It was as if Americans, having secured control of the continent, were eager to expand overseas as well, not least to compete with the British and the French who seem to be gobbling up everything. And as the vast Spanish Empire has grown so weak, the other imperialist powers eyed that prize too; Americans figured they should take control of Cigar-and-Rum-Island and the Michelle-Malkin-Islands.
Though parallels may be drawn between the American gunman and the Japanese samurai, the samurai could also be compared to American Indians, the racial cousins of East Asians and a warrior race whose ‘spiritual’ ethos was not unlike that of the samurai. Nagisa Oshima seems to have picked up on this in GOHATTO, especially in the scene where a group of samurai sit and discuss the threat posed to their civilization by Americans and what we hear on the soundtrack is American-Indian-like music.

Though both the cowboy and samurai were bound to fade away with the profound social changes afoot, the cowboy, at least in his own time, represented something new whereas the samurai represented something ancient. In the Western genre, the cowboy and/or the gunman are active agents of change, and they embrace the new, even if the changes they bring to the West lead to their own obsolescence or extinction. (To be sure, the ‘new’ is a rather paradoxical concept in terms of history. The ‘new’ thing that the white man was bringing to the West was an extension of Western civilization with ancient roots. We tend to define ‘new’ as the opposite of ‘old’, but new things are outgrowths of old things. New technology grew out of old technology, new ideas grew out of old ideas. We have this habit of thinking that new things came out of nowhere and eradicated the old. So, we say America was a new country while Europe was old civilization. But American civilization was an extension of European civilization. We say the American West was a new beginning, but white folks settled the West along the model established in the American East, with churches, courthouses, schools, businesses, etc. What is often called ‘new’ is really a variation, evolution, or mutation of the old. What really may have been new was the opportunity to start from scratch, and Americans had that opportunity in three main stages. The new opportunity to settle East Coast America on the European model. And then to settle the Midwest on the Eastern model. And then to settle the West on the Midwestern and Eastern models. But the progression wasn’t always so neat since some new immigrants from Europe went straight from the East Coast to the places like Minnesota — Swedish settlers for example. When Anglos arrived, there were no laws, no roads, no systems of communication, so Anglo-American expanded through certain steady stages in order to clear the land, build cities, and create networks across America. But when the later groups came, much of America was already connected by roads, rails, ships, law, governance, and etc, and so they could arrive in the East Coast and move to the Midwest, South, or West almost immediately. But we almost never hear of how much every American owes so much to the achievements of Anglo-America without which all else for all other groups would not have been possible.) At best, the Western pioneer and the gunman were meant to be transitional figures, and this is something they understood. Similarly, wars are meant to be transitional or transforming phases of history, not to last forever; and in a way, the whole Manifest Destiny can be seen as civilized white man’s war on wilderness and red savages — and on outlaws who took criminal advantage of the wilderness to do as they pleased. Thus, when the dust settled, the American West was to be no more. But it lasted just long enough to create a whole culture of values, habits, and memories around it. This can be said of more conventional wars too. Though Civil War lasted only four years, a whole culture of honor, heroism, and loyalty developed from it, and for that reason, Civil War aficionados of both North and South — though their ancestors may have bitterly fought one another — feel a great affection for one another. Reenacting the war is their Woodstock concert.
For this reason, there is something Western-like about William Wyler’s BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. Though the men fought the war to restore peace around the world, the war, while it lasted, gave them great meaning in life as men. So, when one of the characters walks among all the decommissioned aircrafts near the end, it’s almost like a Western hero revisiting what had been a wilderness but is now a tamed community that has no use for Western heroes whose bones have been buried and forgotten long ago; and they didn’t so much die; they just faded away.
For this reason, there has always been something of the mythic ‘ghost museum’ quality to Westerns. Though ostensibly about free wanderers of the open range, the narrative mood conveys a sense of a lost world that can never be reclaimed. It was as if the American West was the last of the great adventure into uncharted territory, and in a manner both exhilarating and sad, it came and went too fast.
The story of the American West lasted just long enough to form into a culture yet not long enough to solidify into a civilization. Though the European aristocracy is no more, the aristocratic order had lasted for many centuries. It lived a full life, from its birth to middle life to decline to death. But the story of the American West — though the white man ventured into Western territories since the 16th century, the Western mythology really begins in the 1840s and ends by the coming of the 20th century — lasted perhaps 50 to 70 yrs. The American West lasted longer than most wars but didn’t exist long enough to create a kind of entrenched culture as that of the samurai.
Indeed, the strange thing about the samurai is that they lasted for so long, especially since Japan experienced 250 yrs of peace under Tokugawa rule. Under normal circumstances, a peaceful and unified Japan should have had no more need for samurai. Like Europe, it should have some noblemen leading professional armies that could be recruited and dismissed at will. Though many samurai did lose their positions with the coming of Tokugawa peace, the samurai had developed into a hereditary caste and a deeply entrenched culture in Japan. Samurai were not like the European noblemen for the simple fact that most samurai were not noblemen nor part of the aristocracy. The European military caste was limited to a small number of the nobility, and most lower-level soldiers were not part of this aristocracy. Though Japan during the warring period came to rely heavily on recruited peasant foot-soldiers trained in lance and firearms, there were also large armies made up of samurai soldiers. Because samurai had developed into a privileged caste, most expected to keep their samurai ‘rights’ and privileges(and obligations) even when peace prevailed. It was like a military-caste-complex. And since Tokugawa elites were steeped in samurai culture — as were all the other local lords of Japan — , they did their best to maintain the samurai system/culture/values as much as possible. Therefore, even through the long peaceful rule under the Tokugawa dynasty, a sizable caste made up of samurai remained in Japan. Unlike the cowboy and Western gunman who knew their days were numbered — which is why the Tom Donifan(John Wayne) accepts his fate in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE — , the samurai hoped and expected to remain as the elite caste in Japan forever.
Thus, the psychologies of the samurai and cowboy/gunman are very different. The samurai is collectivist-in-thought seeking permanence whereas the cowboy/gunman is individual-and-even-loner-in-thought who accepts the transience of all things. Though the cowboy works with other cowhands, he likes having his own gun and horse, and having the freedom to move to another part of the country if he so chooses. A cowboy is not bound to his employer as a samurai is to his lord. And the cowboy or gunman accepts long stretches of aloneness as he ventures through the vast American West.
Thus, there is a positive and optimistic side to being a cowboy or Western gunman. The Japanese counterpart of the cowboy or gunman is the MASTERLESS samurai or ronin who is forced to be alone, forced to wander, force to rely on his wits. Unlike the Western hero who welcomes his freedom — in CIMARRON, the hero even leaves his family in search for new adventures, even if it brings him poverty and death in the end — , the masterless samurai abhors being compelled to be free. Ideally, he wants to belong to a lord. But unable to find a master — not only because of the Tokugawa peace but the threats to the entire social order from the pressures from Western powers — , the ronin, in time, must accept his freedom and find ways to make something out of it. Thus, there is a sense of anguish associated with freedom in the movies about masterless samurai. There is no shame in the Western hero being alone and free, whereas there is shame in being a ‘free’ samurai without a lord to serve. Cowboy feels like a free coyote; a ronin feels like a masterless dog. Thus, a ronin has to overcome his feelings of humiliation and unworthiness(for not belonging to a clan) in order to gain a new meaning in life.

Though YOJIMBO cannot — and of course wasn’t meant to be — taken seriously on any historical level(not least because the character of Sanjuro seems steeped in modern existential philosophy that would have been anachronistic in 19th century Japan), it does deal with the problems of the masterless samurai pertaining to servitude & freedom, especially in a ‘world of peace’ where merchant power has come to rival that of the samurai in many respects. Gangsters/gamblers/merchants hire Sanjuro and expect him to act in accordance to samurai principles of loyalty, but everything in town revolves around the power of money and material interest. Thus, samurai culture, as a marketable commodity, is used as an object of parody in a world where the samurai are still around but not so much the samurai culture, i.e. samurai loyalty can be bought by anyone — even gangsters/gamblers and merchants — who are not themselves samurai. (Though the sight of samurai working as hired thugs for greedy merchants for money is hardly dignified in YOJIMBO, isn’t working for gangsters sometimes more honest than working for ‘respectable’ clans? And if all samurai through the ages were essentially hired killers, would it have been morally worse to kill for money than to kill for honor, especially when the samurai concept of honor ranged from amorality to immorality? If a samurai was ideally supposed to do as his lord ordered him, he would have had to wipe out an entire village if ordered to do so. Would such an act have been nobler because he didn’t do it for money but out of loyalty to his lord? Since personal/individual conscience wasn’t much of a feature of samurai culture, an honorable samurai was essentially a loyal dog trained to kill when ordered to kill. Though the thugs in YOJIMBO are vile and gross, there’s a certain honesty about their wickedness. They have no pretenses that they are anything but hired goons, and it is among them that Sanjuro too can be a free agent.) As for the masterless samurai in YOJIMBO, working for unscrupulous thugs offers them some security; they even maintain the facade of samurai honor, but they know it’s all a charade, which is why one samurai named Homma, though full of dignified airs, skips town just before a battle is about to start. Masterless samurai’s pretense of samurai honor while working for crooks can only be farcical, and Kurosawa squeezed a lot of humor from the material.
But then, we can see something similar in America. There was a time when the mostly white American military did indeed serve the great and glorious White Power of America. It was indeed an honorable and noble institution. But who runs America today? Jewish merchants, Jewish sharks, Jewish gangsters, and Jewish weasels. They now run Wall Street, media, law firms, and government. And so, what is the American military? It’s a politically correct, multi-culturalist, feminized, and gay-ized institution full of mercenaries that is bought, sold, and molded by hideous Jewish globalist elites. So, what honor is there for a white American to serve in the military? What honor is there for Navy Seals to take orders from a scumbag mulatto like Obama, the product of a disgusting Negro humping a race-traitor whore, a pile of puss who takes order from his Jewish masters who groomed, marketed, and sold him? Obama is a puppet of Jews, and white American soldiers must serve as the puppets of Obama. So, just like the masterless samurai hired by merchant/gangster thugs in YOJIMBO, the white Americans in the US military are leading farcical lives. They go through the whole rigamarole of patriotism, serving their nation, and all that, but they are nothing but gun-toting mercenary-whores of global Zionist sharks. And in the past, white Americans fought for genuine White American interests, power, and values. Today, what passes for ‘American values’ under the power of globalist Zionists? ‘Gay marriage’, open homosexuality in the military, interracism that encourages white women to sexually submit to bigger stronger Negro men, and fighting Wars for Israel where all the dying are done by goy men while Jews rake in billions more from global finance capitalism. It is no wonder that so many White Rightists want to see the whole system collapse, just as Sanjuro wants the whole corrupt and foul town to burn down to the ground. But is there any white American cunning enough to play his enemies against one another like Sanjuro did with the crooks of the town? In YOJIMBO, Sanjuro uses all his cunning and skills to play off one gang against the other, and he gets away with it because he’s smarter than others. But, there is no Sanjuro-like white rightist in America because Jews are the smart ones. If anything, it’s the Jews who are playing the Sanjuro-game of playing one bunch of goyim against others. So, Jews wanna make Christians fight Muslims, blacks fight whites, illegal aliens fight American citizens, white women fight white men, white liberals fight white conservatives, and etc. And there is Jerry Springer to pit white trash against white trash while other white trash chant “Jerry, Jerry” though Jerry is really mocking and insulting all of them. What the West really needs is someone who can play Jews against non-whites, leftists, women(even feminists), Muslims, Asians, and etc. This wouldn’t be morally+ difficult since Jews are by far the most powerful, privileged, and wealthy people in America and the world. If blacks and illegal aliens are suckers for the politics of ‘social justice’ or ‘inequality’, we should point out that it’s the Jews who have it all. After all, though Jews are 2% of the US population, they control 35 - 45% of all the wealth — and in the future, even more as Jews will gain even more control over high-technology and finance.
Regarding Jews and women, we should point out that Hollywood, music industry, and porn are dominated by Jews, and Jews have been exploiting women as tramps, whores, sluts, and skanks. And Israel is a sex slave capital of the world, with countless Slavic women having been lured there to serve as sex meat for filthy Jewish global gangsters, some of whom have close relations with political elites in Israel, New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Jews point out how Muslims mistreat women — which is true enough — , but anyone who thinks Jews treat women any better are crazy. Sure, Jews treat Jewish women real nice, but all other women are ‘shikse’, which means ‘dirty whore’. During the Occupy Wall Street Movement, it should have been pointed out to ‘progressives’ and leftists that it’s the JEWS who run Wall Street, US government, the NWO, and much else. ‘White privilege’ is a myth when it comes to vast majority of white Americans, but Jewish privilege is very much a fact, what with over 50% of Jews making over $100,000 and with nearly 40% of the 500 richest people in America being Jewish — though Jews make up only 2% of the population. But Jews and their closest allies, the gays, would have us believe that Jews are oh-so-powerless-and-helpless. Though Jews own Wall Street, the US government — and by extension the US military — , the American legal system(by which they’ve destroyed the lives of millions of white Americans), and 300 illegal nuclear missiles in Israel, we are supposed to believe that Israel is on the verge of being wiped out by a rag-tag mob of Palestinians(“who wanna drive Jews into the sea”). Since most Republican politicians are not in tune with Jewish social policies, the only way they can appeal to Jews for money and approval is by playing the “I’m more pro-Zionist than my opponent” in political contests, which is why American politics is such a sad farce. Just looking at the mugs of Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney makes you wanna throw up. They talk big and loud, even with swagger like they are heroes of Western movies, but they are nothing but whores of the Jewish Lobby. Just like Obama, they act big and powerful, but it’s all an act coached and choreographed by Jews who really control everything their puppets say.
As cynical as Sanjuro may be, he is truly appalled by the sexual slavery of the wife/mother in YOJIMBO, but so-called white conservatives do not even have the guts to stand up for their manhood and the dignity of their women. Though Jews control and use the porn industry, popular culture industry, and prostitution industry to degrade, brainwash, and commodify white women into pieces of sex meat to be sold for huge profits, there is no outrage from the white conservative community(though it never tires of bitching about how Muslims mistreat their women; well, at least Muslims mostly mistreat THEIR OWN women whereas Jews are mistreating, exploiting, and abusing mostly white gentile women). Though Jews have been pushing interracism, which is essentially a war on white manhood(since the stronger and tougher black guy will beat up, humiliate, and/or intimidate the white man into a ‘white boy’ while taking more and more white women in what is a war of racial-sexual conquest that has nothing ‘equal’ about it), what we hear from white conservatives is that the one good thing about the presidency of Obama is that it’s proof that “we’ve all come a long way since America elected the first black president, especially one produced by a white woman who turned her back on her own race to be humped by men of other races.” Jews pushed Obama to send a message to white women that “white boys are a bunch of faggoty dweebs, and so white women should go with ‘charismatic’ and ‘masterful’ Negroes and give birth to a super-mulatto-man like Obama.” The so-called ‘long way’ is the wrong way, not the right way. It’s been engineered by Jews to deracinate, demoralize, and deflate the white race. And notice how the Jewish media cover up all the news stories about black male violence against white males, black male violence against white females, black female violence against white females, and even black female violence against white males — in some mixed-racial communities, if a black girl attacks a white boy, the white boy cannot fight back because if he hit the stupid black bitch, she will call her boyfriend or brother who will come and kick the white boy’s ass. All such horrors ares happening, and we need white leaders to lead the white race, but all we have are farcical white ‘conservatives’ who suck up to Jews, weep listening to the dumb speeches of Michael King(aka Martin L. King), weep some more watching GREEN MILE with the mountain-sized Negro who wuvs a wittle white mouse, and praise Obama as evidence that America ‘that has come a long way’.

Worse, what with the Jewish control of media, a good number of so-called ‘conservatives’ chosen for mainstream consumption happen to be Jews like David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, Jonah Goldberg, William Kristol, and many others whose main agenda is to use white conservatives as running dogs for Zionism. Jews know that if 100% of Jews were anti-white and anti-conservative, American conservatives will finally wake up and take on Jewish power. But as long as white conservatives are fed with the silly notion that maybe if they just try a little harder, more Jews will come to their side, conservatives will be under the delusion that Jews are wonderful people and destined to join their side. Jewish liberals run the media and have favored Jewish neocons to be the face of ‘conservatism’, and so American conservatism has become, more or less, the same as American liberalism, which is why liberal Jews need to come up with ever new wedge issues like ‘gay marriage’ to maintain the myth of ‘progressivism’. Jews are hideous, but what’s truly disgusting about the whole thing is the sheer stupidity of white American gentiles. For example, don’t white liberal Americans see any contradiction or irony in American history since the 1950s? One of the biggest narratives have been about the dark days of the so-called “McCarthy Era” when thousands of lives and careers were supposedly ‘destroyed’. The great lesson from the era, we’ve been told, is that America should be a nation of free speech and free association due to Constitutional Rights. And we should not give into ‘hysteria’, ‘paranoia’, ‘fear-mongering’, political intimidation, and ‘guilt by association’. Never mind that during WWII, the Democrats and Jewish Americans used government and media to fear-monger Americans into paranoia and hysteria, indeed enough to believe that Japan was intending to actually invade the US, American coastlines were surrounded by Nazi submarines, and America was teeming with German and Japanese spies/saboteurs, which even led to the imprisoning of over 100,000 Japanese-Americans. Never mind all that, and let us take the Jewish liberals at their word from the 1950s onward. If everything McCarthy did and stood for was all wrong — in other words, if even Stalinists and Maoists should have had the same legal/political/professional rights, protections, and opportunities of all American regardless of their ideological creed or loyalty — , then how does it follow that the very people who condemn the McCarthy Era have enforced political correctness to ruin, derail, and destroy the lives and careers of countless Americans? How it is that the majority of Jewish liberals are now saying we need ‘hate speech’ laws so that certain views cannot be heard? And who defines ‘hate’? Isn’t hating free speech a kind of hate, indeed the hatred of freedom and liberty? Jews in the 50s and 60s would have said YES — if only to protect the rights of fellow Jews of liberal and leftist persuasion. But now that Jews have near-total control of America and don’t want any ‘hater’ to criticize or challenge Jewish power, opposing free speech is now necessary according to Jews. Free speech is to be only for the politically correct. Politically incorrect speech is to be treated like pollution. But again, who gets to define what is ‘hate’? To religious people, atheists are the haters of God and religious folks. To atheists, religious people are the haters and enemies of reason. To capitalists, communists are haters of private property. To communists, capitalists are the haters of the working class. To Zionists, Palestinian patriots are haters of the Jewish state. To Palestinians, Zionism is hatred of Palestine. To race-ists, anti-race-ists are the haters of truth about race. To anti-race-ists, race-ists are the haters of the ‘truth’ that ‘race is just a social construct’. To Jewish Supremacists, those who speak truth to Jewish power are haters of Jews. To those who speak truth to Jewish power, Jewish supremacists are haters of free speech and discourse. Who decides what is ‘speech pollution’? Surely, something like Nazism is foul for having unleashed forces that killed millions. But what ideology killed even more in the 20th century? Communism killed anywhere from 50 to 70 million people — though estimates do go as high as 100 million. So, should we ban all Marxist speech since Marxist ideas might give rise to future Lenins, Trotskys, Stalins, Maos, and Pol Pots? If the Jews insist on outlawing ‘hate speech’, then the White Right should fight fire with fire and call for banning Jewish Supremacist hate speech such as Zionism. White Right should call for banning radical feminist speech as hate speech against the unity of men and women and against the social harmony between the sexes. White Right should call for banning rap music for its rabid and virulent celebration of murder, rape, and mayhem. Even when rap lyrics aren’t hateful, rap emotions are almost always hateful, and in that case, should hate-as-an-emotion be banned as well? After all, no idea or ideology, whatever its beliefs, can be hateful without hateful emotions. Thus, if we must really do away with hate, then we must ban hateful emotions. In that case, maybe we should ban violent videogames, violent movies, and violent music — even if they’re unaccompanied by textual message — since they might encourage hateful emotions. Some people might compare ‘hate speech’ with air pollution, but it makes more sense to compare them with bodily gases. Bodily gases may be unpleasant, but they are natural and must be given release. Imagine someone choosing never to belch or fart because it would be ‘hateful’. Eventually, even with all the Gas-X pills and whatever, the gases are gonna build and blow out as the mother of all farts. The best way to manage ‘hate’ is to allow it proper release. Hate is a natural emotion like love, happiness, sadness, ludicrousness, and etc. Too much hatred or hatred-out-of-control can be dangerous, but then too much love can be stupid too, like when Gandhi told the world not to fight Hitler and instead to show him lots of love, and gee, maybe he’ll change his ways. Hate is necessary, but we need to control it. The problem with Hitler was he came up with permanent hatreds that had no useful purpose. He wasn’t wrong to see vile Jewish communists and Jewish finance capitalists as enemies, but he was wrong to see ALL Jews as eternal enemies forever. Americans had every right to be filled with burning hatred against the Japanese when Pearl Harbor happened. Maybe Americans went too far with their hatred with the carpet bombing of entire cities and the nuking of two, but American rage and hatred during WWII was understandable since Japan had absolutely no right to do what it did, especially when Americans offered them a generous deal — Japan could keep Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan, and would only need to move out of China, whereby US would resumes sales of iron and oil to Japan. While hatred has a way of burning out of control — the American Civil War certainly did, leading to far more vengeful destruction than was necessary or warranted — , I can’t imagine any organism, culture, people, or civilization surviving without the ability to hate, especially against those who mean to do it harm. In the West, there is no doubt that Jews mean to do white people harm. THIS is why Jews and their white-dupe-running-dogs are eager to clamp down on free speech. Jews, with their immense power, are afraid that people might wise up to the Jewish control of the world, especially America, and so Jews wanna prevent anyone from even talking about Jewish power. Though Jews say they wanna ban ‘hate speech’ to protect ‘minorities’ — meaning blacks, Hispanics, and gays — , it’s just a ruse to prevent criticism of Jewish power. Of course, there will be loopholes once anti-‘hate speech’ laws are enacted. For example, while it will be illegal for gentiles to talk about how Jews have great power and control America, it will be permissible for Jews to brag about their immense power. We live in a world where a Jew can say, ‘We DO control the media’, but if a gentile said, ‘I agree with the Jewish guy’, he would be accused of ‘antisemitism’.

What follows is an examination of YOJIMBO’s first part, which runs around 31 minutes(ending with the scene where the gang war is brought to an abrupt halt by a messenger on horseback who reports the coming of government inspectors). The first part of YOJIMBO is amazing. Though YOJIMBO is great from the first scene to the last, the rest of the film after the first act may not invite repeat viewings as much as other Kurosawa films — and Leone Westerns partly inspired by YOJIMBO. The reason is that most of the characters in the YOJIMBO are caricatures and aren’t very involving or interesting after making their first impressions. Cartoon characters are generally good for five minutes or so. The exceptions are Sanjuro(Mifune), Gonji(Eijiro Tono) the restaurant owner(and innkeeper?), and to some extent, the arch villain Unosuke(Tatsuya Nakadai) with the gun. Though YOJIMBO is as much a comedy as an ‘action movie’, the humor is more in the overall conception than in the details. It goes for grotesque vision than gag-oriented romp. Though Tatsuya Nakadai played a memorable character — and the talent and looks to make most of the limited role — , it’s something of a pity that more wasn’t done with his part, as it would have been more interesting for the movie to have an effective counterpart to a larger-than-life actor/character like Mifune/Sanjuro. Though Sanjuro gets in trouble and just barely manages to escape and recover, one of the problems is that Mifune dominates too much of the movie. Though ZATOICHI MEETS YOJIMBO is a lesser movie — and even something of an imitation — , it is dramatically more engaging because Mifune’s stardom was balanced by another giant of Japanese cinema, Shintaro Katsu, the legendary star as the blind masseuse with the cane sword. A movie doesn’t have to be particularly meaningful or deep to be involving, and this is plain to see in the Dollars Trilogy by Sergio Leone. A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS is more involving than YOJIMBO because Eastwood is counter-balanced by another larger-than-life actor Gian Maria Volonte who masterfully played Ramon. Volonte did an even greater job as Indio in FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, which also had the striking Lee Van Cleef in the role of Colonel Mortimer. And Tuco in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY, though a caricature, is more than a cartoon and gradually grows on us, and in the final scene, we really don’t want him to die and feel relieved that Blondie(Eastwood) spares him. YOJIMBO has many splendid caricature roles played by wonderful character actors, but most don’t leave much of impression beyond their first viewing. They don’t grow or expand beyond their comic roles, and so the film seems a bit static after the first part(at least if you go for repeated viewings). For caricatures to remain interesting for repeated viewings, they must either be fed with great lines or remain suitably strange/mysterious to keep us fascinated. This is true of DR. STRANGELOVE by Stanley Kubrick. Everyone in that film is a cartoon, but what a perversely strange bunch of oddballs they are, and what wonderfully funny lines they deliver from beginning to end. Though YOJIMBO is filled all sorts of noise and clutter, there isn’t much in the way of dialogue, and after the first act, is essentially a one-man show dominated by Mifune. Also, because most people in it are cartoon characters, we don’t become emotionally invested with them, and so we don’t care if they live or die. The exception is the woman who’s being held captive by the sake merchant, but we don’t get to know much about her either. Though there are other sexual victims in the movie — most of the prostitutes working for the Seibei gang are little more than sexual slaves — , we care about the woman(her name is Nui and played by Yoko Tsukasa) because she is one of few pleasant-looking characters in the film — other than Mifune and Nakadai, but then Nakadai, for all his good looks, is an evil guy. Though Mifune risks his neck to save the woman out of sympathy for the entire family — her son makes a pitiable sight calling out to her — , my guess it has something to do with her looks. If she looked like a pig, he probably wouldn’t have cared much, and viewers would have felt likewise. Life is unfair. We like to tell ourselves that beauty is only skin-deep and should have no bearing on morality, but we act differently. We generally sympathize more with individuals, peoples, or cultures that are deemed more beautiful, striking, interesting, impressive, and etc. We don’t regard all peoples and cultures as the same, and this goes for intelligence, musicality, and athleticism as well. One reason why there’s more sympathy for Jews — especially in contrast to Palestinians — is that Jews are regarded as intelligent and creative whereas Palestinians strike most of us as dumbass. And even though the indigenous peoples of the Americas suffered greatly with the coming of Europeans, there’s a lot more sympathy for blacks among white liberals because whites find blacks more musical and athletic — and mudsharks and metro-sexualized white boys find black men more studly. So, it should be no surprise that the one ‘civilian’ we care about in YOJIMBO is Nui, and she is indeed beautiful. She’s like a gust of fresh air in a world stinking with the stench of human ugliness, physical as well as moral. Even actors who looked halfway decent or presentable in other Kurosawa films have been made to look especially grotesque and vile. Inokichi the dimwit brother of one of the gang-leaders is played by Daisuke Kato, who played the rotund warrior in SEVEN SAMURAI — one of the three survivors at the end. Though hardly a handsome man — he sort of looks like a Japanese Bob Hoskins or Danny Devito — , he came across as manly, dignified, and likable in SEVEN SAMURAI. But, in YOJIMBO he’s made to look like a fat wild boar.
Of course, the ugliness of YOJIMBO was entirely intentional, and it is grotesquely funny. It’s as if a town has been taken over by goblins and gargoyles, and so Sanjuro’s entry into town is almost like Heston finding himself on a planet inhabited by apes. He’s like the lone human possessed of free will and a free mind — and the strength and intelligence to defend his core dignity against animal-like humans. It’s ironic because he arrives as a hungry and unkempt masterless samurai. In contrast, the gang leaders and the two top merchants — one of silk and the other of sake — have enough wealth and influence to maintain the appearance of respectability. And yet, it is Sanjuro who is the only genuine human — at least in the Western sense — in the town. Though thirsty and hungry upon arrival, he keeps his appetites and emotions under control. And instead of seeking an owner/boss for security — as most of the unruly(yet servile) henchmen of the town have done — , Sanjuro pledges no loyalty to either side and remains a freelance operator. Of course, he’s able to do this because of his extraordinary skills, but ability alone doesn’t explain him. Though his plan to ignite an all-out war between the two sides is pretty cynical(bordering on nihilism), there is a moral component for he figures the town will be more peaceful if the bad guys wipe one another out. On the other hand, it seems as though there won’t be much of a town left after all the bad guys die since the most townsfolk seem to be part of the rot. It’s as if the only way to save the patient is to kill him.

For the first half of the movie, the only decent person Sanjuro meets is the old restaurant owner(or tavern-keeper) Gonji, but the guy also looks ugly and repellent. The old man may have a basic sense of right-and-wrong(and feel outraged and depressed by the violence and corruption descended over the town), but he too has given into the bitterness and pessimism in his utter powerlessness. He won’t join in the evil but accepts things as they are; he too leads an animal mode of existence, which is to survive. Though he barks angrily about the politics of the town to Sanjuro, when the big shots and their henchmen enter his place, he crouches down or slinks away like a scared little dog; he crows big behind their backs but bows low like the rest of the town when they’re around. Adjoining his place is the shop of the casket-maker, who is maybe half-decent at best. He doesn’t share the moral outrage of the restaurant owner — if anything, he gleefully profits from the dead bodies piling up in town — , but he services rather than abets the evil of the town. He’s a scavenger who feeds on the kills of others but no killer himself.
Perhaps, Kurosawa used him as a commentary on the state of the Japanese economy in the postwar era. In the great conflict between US and the USSR, Japan had no say in political matters but could only serve as an economic servant. Postwar Japanese economy began to take off as the result of the Korean War in which the big powers — US, China, and USSR(as supplier of war material) — clashed. Japan, as a politically powerless nation, had no say in any of this and could only hope to cash in on the mayhem(and Japan did so again during the Vietnam War). Though a nearby country was being ravaged from the confrontation of giant armies of big powers, Japanese only cared about making enough money from the bloodbath to reboot their own economy. Similarly, the coffin maker, though not an evil man, figures he might as well profit from the bloodshed caused by both sides. Fittingly, the casket-maker(Atsushi Watanabe) looks like a buzzard. And like so many Japanese — even today — , he moves around with his shoulders hunched. One of the earliest Western visitors to Japan was convinced that the Japanese were not human but a race of monkeys, and this impression might have had to do with the fact that so many Japanese — especially of lower caste — walked around with their shoulders hunched and heads bowed. What distinguishes man from ape or monkey is that man stands and walks upright whereas simians are bent-over and/or stooping most of the time. The ironic thing about Japanese — and East Asian culture in general — is that in trying to create an ultra-civilized order of respect and manners, it made people move around like lower creatures such as apes, monkeys, or even four-legged animals. When samurai bow to their lords, they could be kneeling on the floor with their hands pressed against the floor. They try to flatten themselves onto the floor as much as possible — like doing reverse pushups — and look like a bunch of pancaked frogs. As seen in SHOGUN, a commoner could have his head cut off for not bowing properly — and a samurai would be compelled to slit open his own belly if he didn’t show proper respect to his lord — , and so the Japanese became ultra-mindful and slavish about proper body language, and as such, a whole bunch of Japanese became accustomed to walking around bent-over or crouching most of the time in fear of and deference to the cultural order. In Old Japan, very few people had the ‘freedom’ to develop into free individuals in the Western sense. Commoners had to bow down to samurai, and samurai and lesser lords had to prostrate themselves before higher lords who had to do the same to even higher lords. So, only the few elites at the very top or local elites relatively independent of the iron control of the Tokugawa authority could enjoy any kind of freedom.

The funny thing about Sanjuro is that, as a mangy masterless samurai, he should be without self-respect and servilely trying to find employment under a new boss, but he’s carefree about his lack of social ‘dignity’. Though pretty low and down-and-out for a samurai — Pauline Kael referred to YOJIMBO as a ‘shaggy man movie’ — , Sanjuro feels, thinks, and acts like he’s in control of everything. With the sword, he is nearly unbeatable. And in terms of acumen, intelligence, and strategy, he has no equal in the town. And he has the nerves and the will to carry out his dangerous maneuvers with a straight face. And despite his ruthless cunning, he feels morally superior to everyone in town, and so he has no qualms about all the dirty tricks and betrayals he’s pulling. He must also know that he’s the best-looking guy in town, at least until Nakadai comes along, but then Nakadai’s Unosuke is morally repugnant.
Given the outsized grandeur of the Sanjuro character, YOJIMBO is, of course, a fantasy movie where attractiveness, skills, strength, and goodness are all rolled into an invincible asset for its hero. In this sense, Sanjuro is like a combo of a whole bunch of action movie characters known for their toughness, looks, and skills. But Sanjuro is also more for he has to rely on his wits more than most, and indeed his success owes as much, if not more, to his brains as his brawn.

It’s natural for people to indulge in fantasies, and the fantasy of YOJIMBO is like the basis of so many religions and mythologies where the gods and heroes are essentially fusions of all the attributes we admire, fear, and/or hold in awe: power, beauty, wisdom, intelligence, extraordinary skills, ruthlessness, cunning, and grandeur. But there is a dark side to such fantasies, and Kurosawa delved into them in his next three films: SANJURO, HIGH AND LOW, and RED BEARD. The good looks of Nakadai notwithstanding, YOJIMBO is a movie where evil = ugly; indeed the most morally charged scene is when we learn that a good beautiful woman is being used as a sexual slave of an evil ugly dirty old man. (I wonder if this had something to do with Kurosawa’s feelings about Japanese women serving as whores to US G.I.’s.) If YOJIMBO takes place in a town ruled by gangsters, gamblers, and merchants, SANJURO takes place in a town ruled by seemingly honorable samurai. Though SANJURO’s vision isn’t apocalyptic like YOJIMBO’s — the town in SANJURO remains intact, and only the bad guys are flushed out in the end — , its main moral message is “don’t judge a book by its cover.” YOJIMBO features an ugly world with ugly morality. SANJURO features a beautiful world rife with ugly morality, which makes things trickier. HIGH AND LOW is a more interesting case, and indeed, it could be seen as a kind of dark flip-side of the moral world view of YOJIMBO. The kidnapper in the film plays a kind of Sanjuro-like role. He sees the world as corrupt, with rotten rich people ruling over rotten poor people. He has no faith in humanity and doesn’t care what happens to the world. He will play his own game and play everyone every which way and then some for his own aggrandizement. He is also a good-looking and intelligent guy, a medical student. But unlike the Mifune character in YOJIMBO, he is vile and despicable. The misanthropic view of humanity that has satirical value in the fantasy setting(of YOJIMBO or DR. STRANGELOVE) can be dangerous in the real world. It’s one thing to reduce humanity into caricatures and cartoon-characters via satire but quite another to mistake the real world as filled with lowly caricatures. The kidnapper in HIGH AND LOW has such view of humanity. He reduces the world into ‘bad rich people’ and ‘stupid poor people’: the bad rich are all greedy and rotten, and poor people are dumb, useless, and corrupt in their own way. So, what does it matter if he kidnaps a rich man’s son for ransom? What does it matter if he kills junkies by providing them with overdoses of heroin? We laugh at the dead piling up in YOJIMBO, but every death in HIGH AND LOW is no laughing matter, even when the victim is a hopeless junkie. HIGH AND LOW shows that real people are not cartoons and real lives are no laughing matter. The kidnapper was wrong about Kingo Gondo(Mifune) the rich man(who, as the result of the kidnapper, has lost his fortune). Though it turns out that the kidnapper abducted the wrong kid — chauffeur’s son mistaken for Gondo’s son — , Gondo pays the ransom and faces almost certain financial ruin. But the film also seems to be saying that we shouldn’t expect people to be cartoon-saints either. Gondo initially resisted paying the ransom, and his final decision to do so had as much to do with his having no choice as with doing the right thing. Had he not paid the ransom, the bad press would have ruined his business just the same. So, his decision was noble and ignoble, moral and mercenary, which is to say human. In a way, Gondo passionately runs and embraces the chauffeur’s son after the rescue because he needs to convince himself that he did the right thing; it is, in a way, a desperate hugging of his own shaky conscience.
Perhaps, the most chilling scene on the relation between beauty and morality in Kurosawa’s movies is when the young doctor is seduced by the beautiful crazy woman in RED BEARD. Initially, she appears as beautiful and helpless — like the woman in YOJIMBO — , but she turns out to be one murderous praying-mantis-like crazy woman. She pins the young doctor and nearly kills him — just like Lady Kaeda wielding the knife in RAN.
Appearances are very important in Japanese culture. Though important in Western culture as well, there has always been the higher emphasis on morality and the soul(at least prior to the rise of mass trash culture). The sight of crucified Jesus is gruesome — and many saints met similarly ugly deaths — , but they were said to have triumphed soulfully or spiritually. Though the image of the Crucifixion has often been aestheticized — even made beautiful in some ways — , the ugly brutality of the suffering was always a key component. So, even as Western folks were mindful about looking nice, there was a sense of higher worth beyond social form, facades, and appearances. In contrast, Japan developed what might be called a sight-is-right mentality. The look and feel of things came to mean everything. Japanese went even further than the Chinese. Though appearance of proper manners was crucial to the formulation of virtue according to Confucianism, the outer expression was seen as a manifestation of the man’s inner virtue. Thus, if a man’s mind and soul were properly cultivated through learning, his body and behavior would follow and glow with the radiance within. The Japanese sort of reversed this. Though versed and trained in Confucianism, the more important components of Japanese culture were Heian aestheticism and samurai athleticism. In Japanese culture, outer beauty need not express some moral principle within. Beauty-for-beauty’s-sake was seen as a virtue — indeed, in some ways, as the highest kind of virtue. And though samurai were ideally to be educated in virtue as well as trained in the arts of war, their real worth was measured by how they served as loyal soldiers with proper behavior, attitude, and manners — the appearance of things. Thus, if a Japanese was properly trained in appearance, the soul would follow as well. This accounts for why John Nathan said Mishima’s works are like pretty frames empty of content. Japanese did develop the concept of the spirit and soul, but due to their obsession with appearances, aesthetics, and manners, their concept of the spirit or soul tended to be ethereal, elusive, and ephemeral than heavy, deep, or dark. When Russians speak of the Russian soul, it could apply to an illiterate, dirty, drunk, and dumb Russian as long as he was full of that deep, earthy, and organic soul blended of Christian sanctity and Mother Russia soil-and-mist. But for a Japanese to commune with the spirit, he or she had to be clean, proper, disciplined, meditative, and poetic. This Japanese spirit thing was fleeting and slippery, like the reflection of moon in one of those Japanese garden water wells where the bamboo water pipe keeps bobbing up and down with clickity-clack sounds. One might say there was plenty of ugliness in samurai violence, but even the way of the samurai was aestheticized and purified through art, ritual, and legend. Though seppuku, aka harakiri, was pretty disgusting, it was carried out like a stage performance of ritual purification. A lot of white was used: white clothes, white background, white mat, white paper to roll the blade around in. There could be cherry blossoms right above the guy ripping his guts out. And behind him was a guy who purified his sword with water and waited for just the right moment to perform the coup-de-grace by decapitating the guy who was artfully ripping his guts out. (Paradoxically, though samurai were supposed to be fearless in everything they did and convey their fearlessness in their every expression and movement, such austereness and severity were really products of their abject fear of the harshness of punishment. For example, if a samurai exhibited even the slightest sign of cowardice, he might be forced to commit seppuku. Even though every samurai tried to convince himself and others that he was not afraid of the ritual, the his inner-self was surely terrified of ripping the guts out and then being beheaded. So, in out of fear of having to commit such act, a samurai had to act tough and hard all the time; they were fearfully fearless.) And though I’m sure actual samurai battles were ugly and terrifying, the legends told of how samurai practiced violence as the art of blood in the battlefield. Consider the stylized battle re-enactment in “Hoichi the Earless” of KWAIDAN. Thus, even blood-letting became the subject of beauty, of ‘appearance’ in Japanese culture. And the ironic thing about the ending of SANJURO is that, even though the film’s message is “do not judge people and things by appearances”, the arch villain is given the chance to die beautifully: blood spurts from his heart like a geyser while he stands perfectly still before finally falling to the ground. In a way, the message of SANJURO is conflicted for, on the one hand, it seems to be saying “beauty can deceive and hide evil”, but on the other, it seems to be saying, “something beautiful shouldn’t soil itself by involving itself in the rotten world.” In other words, beauty has intrinsic value as beauty, and the rotten world isn’t deserving of the beauty — physical, creative, spiritual, or moral. The darker message of SANJURO seems to be that the villain’s main transgression wasn’t so much against society as against himself for he defiled his superior qualities by participating in the dirty ‘politics’ of the world. In other words, a thing of beauty or superiority shouldn’t become embroiled in a world of lesser men with less worthy appetites. Though Sanjuro kills the villain, he comes to hate himself for he feels he has wasted his superiority on an undeserving world; he also killed a superior man for the sake of inferior people, like the young bunch of samurai who don’t seem to have really learned anything. If the bad are blind to the virtue of goodness and go about their dirty ways, the good are blind to the truly rotten ways of the world and easily fooled by the appearances of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. In such a world of bad fools and good fools, it is a waste of superior men — like Sanjuro or the arch villain played again by Tatsuya Nakadai — to get themselves involved and soil their higher qualities. It’d be like grown men playing with children or hawks hanging with vultures. So, Sanjuro isn’t happy that he had to kill the only other superior man at the end of SANJURO. If anything, he’s offended when the good young samurai praise his victory. He feels like he lost as much as the man he killed. The villain was a superior man who foolishly wasted his worth/talent on a bunch of corrupt weasels, and he, Sanjuro, is a superior man who foolishly killed a lot of people for the good side when good people will go on being naive and deluded.

In purely dramatic terms, YOJIMBO might have been more involving if it had more human-like characters and more of a discernible/elaborate plot, but of course, that would have been beside the point. It would have been like expecting more realistic situations and characters in ANIMAL FARM. What really matters in YOJIMBO is that the basic plot machinations, allegorical situations and characters, and the main character all work to set off a chain of events that will lead to the town’s demise. And for the first-time viewer, the film is filled with surprises and works perfectly. And it might be fun for second or third viewing too, especially as all Kurosawa films can be admired for the marvel of the film-making alone. But just like ANIMAL FARM cannot be read too many times, YOJIMBO becomes less interesting and involving with repeated viewings.
When it comes to stories, we generally latch onto characters and stories than caricatures and situations, especially if we were to return to them repeatedly. Or, the narratives that invite repeated viewings tend to open the pandora’s box of questions, clues, and meanings. For this reason, though DR. STRANGELOVE may be the most perfect of Kubrick’s major works, it is less interesting than even flawed works like THE SHINING and EYES WIDE SHUT. While DR. STRANGELOVE is enjoyable for its memorable caricature-characters, funny lines, and the sheer brilliance/originality of Kubrick’s filmmaking prowess, once you get the point of the movie, there really isn’t much to be discovered. Characters like General Jack D. Ripper, General Turgidson, Colonel Kong, Mandrake, Bat Guano, Ambassador Kissoff, and others are all wonderfully realized, but they are little more than Looney Tunes characters. The one exception is Dr. Strangelove, who seems to be the most grotesquely cartoonish of them all but turns out to be a man of perverse mystery(biographically and conceptually). He’s supposed to be a former Nazi scientist — and one part of him is still loyal to the Fuhrer — , but he is clearly a Jewishy character inspired by Jewish nuclear scientists. He’s essentially a Nazi Jew, and though he’s the darkest and most perverse character in the movie, he is also, in some ways, the wisest and most honest. It’s as though he understands the truth of human nature — that mankind is essentially a race of hairless apes — and believes that the fate of mankind(survival or destruction, or survival through destruction) will be a matter of man’s animal nature and/or of harnessing that animal nature. Mankind is not necessarily doomed at the end of DR. STRANGELOVE. It may be possible for a select group of people in the US and the USSR to go underground and survive out the nuclear holocaust. So, just as not everyone dies in YOJIMBO, not everyone need die in DR. STRANGELOVE. Indeed, the nuclear holocaust may serve as a kind of cleansing of mankind. All the inferior dummies will die and so will most of the moral do-gooders who foolishly believe that man’s reason and values can elevate mankind. Dr. Strangelove, as a Nazi Jew, envisions a new reality where intellect makes peace with animal nature. If man acts only like animals, he is just an animal. But if man thinks he can prevail over his animal nature with ‘culture’, ‘morality’, ‘laws’, and ‘reason’, he is only fooling himself since human behavior is driven by animal nature. Then, the only real solution is to accept the biological nature of man; thus, civilization shouldn’t mislead man to think he has moved away from nature but should serve as a reminder of what man’s intelligence can create by harnessing his animal nature. As Kubrick explored in EYES WIDE SHUT, all the riches of the world are created/funded/produced by men of ambition, and men’s ambitions are driven by lust for sex and territory. Man must be more than an animal, but he must recognize the animal at the core of man, and this is something that Dr. Strangelove understands. The nuclear holocaust is a kind of blessing to him because it will allow mankind to start anew based on principles derived from the truth of mankind. Only the most intelligent will survive and they will mate with only the most beautiful. Thus, intellect and instinct will be wedded together. Dr. Strangelove is an intelligent and ugly man, but if he creates a new breed of humans in underground shelters by shooting his high IQ sperm into gorgeous women, the new mankind that will rise from the ground will properly be premised on two things: intelligence/superior ability and health/superior beauty. Everything else is an illusion or delusion. (This may be why Kubrick married a good-looking German woman. He had high IQ Jewish cum and his wife had the ‘Aryan’ looks. Unfortunately, it looks like his daughters got their brains from their mother and their looks from their father. Same with the son/daughter/whatever of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley.) Though I’m greatly simplifying Kubrick’s view of the world, it crops up over and over in his later works. In A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, Kubrick expressed his doubts about rational/social/artificial solutions to man’s problems. Alex(Malcolm Macdowell) is a dangerous criminal but also an inspired individual, a modern rock-star-like thug version of Alexander the Great. Though he uses his inspiration in the worst possible way, his energy — though used destructively — isn’t all that different from the energy that gave rise to higher civilization and stuff like Beethoven’s 9th. Without such a life-force, life/history cannot move forward, cannot make the great leap. Of course, if that force is used as Alex uses it, civilization will fall apart. But without such a force, civilization stagnates and rots. The giant progress among the apes in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY comes when one of them learns how to use a bone as a weapon. It is destructive but also inspired, and for there to be a new reality and new order, there has to be the will to destroy the old and bring forth the new. Alex is a thug, but the energy that flows through his soul isn’t necessarily only thuggish. If Alex had been of a different character or raised in a different setting, his energy could have been used to create something like the works of Beethoven whose music he so admires. The problem with the social conditioning used against him is that instead of channeling his energy toward something more useful and constructive, the energies are suppressed altogether. Alex becomes less dangerous and less animal, but if we utterly neutralize the animal nature in man, man might as well be a vegetable and not an interesting/creative/meaningful character. It’s like Randall McMurphy becomes a safer person after the lobotomy in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, but he’s hardly a person anymore. True, he was often a jerk and a lunatic — and even murderous against Nurse Ratched — , but he was also a vibrant person with an inspired soul.
Furthermore, there may be times when only animal nature can save a person and his turf. This is the case in STRAW DOGS by Sam Peckinpah. Its main character David has led a life of self-castration. He sees himself as rational, settled comfortably in a quiet community with a nice wife. But as events develop, he is forced to grow a pair, connect with his animal nature, and fight like an animal defending its own turf. Creativity and instinct fuse into one as his brains and balls unite to kill a whole bunch of proto-yobs. And in DELIVERANCE, the mild-mannered Jon Voight character must connect with the primordial warrior-soul within himself to climb to the top of the bluff to use his bow & arrow against the toothless homo-hillbilly. (But DELIVERANCE was also wise to remind us that animal nature shouldn’t be worshiped as some Nietzschean ‘super-man’ cult. Animal nature may have inspired our mythologies, but nature follows its own rules and doesn’t give a crap about our conceits. Thus, the Burt Reynolds, who talked tough about living off the wild and shunning wimpy stuff like insurance, is rendered into a whimpering baby upon breaking his leg.) Perhaps, all these works were fashionable in their time as a kind of counter-cultural statement urging people to reconnect with their ‘true nature’ and reject the conventional notions of ‘normal’ vs ‘crazy’, i.e. in a crazy world, only the ‘crazy’ are really normal, and so, many viewers rooted for Randall McMurphy in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST. Yet, these works were also counter-counter-cultural for they tended to be dark and grim about the true nature of human nature. They shunned the lovey-dovey stuff about man living in harmony with nature that hippie potheads and college kids fantasized about while listening to Grateful Dead records. Nature was brutal, and human nature was part of the larger nature of tooth and claw. One could even say that the rednecks in EASY RIDER are more in tune with nature than the bikers/hippies are. The rednecks may be thuggish and all, but they are really thinking, feeling, and living by the rules of tribalism and territoriality. Just like animals in the wild, they are distrustful of strangers and outsiders, and they will brutally deal with anyone who comes messing around on their turf. It’s no wonder that Dennis Hopper later turned politically kinda ‘conservative’. His understanding of human nature was that there are always gonna be differences and disagreements, and every dream of creating a harmonious human community will end with a case of “we blew it.” The bikers in EASY RIDER visit a hippie commune, and its members may be ‘beautiful people’, but they don’t seem to have a clue as to how to survive(and will likely return to urban living). In contrast, the rednecks do know how to survive — to grow food, maintain social order, enforce social norms, etc. — , but they have no vision of life or possibilities outside their narrow prejudices. As for the Mardi Gras, it’s colorful and all, but it can’t last but for a few days; and drugs, whatever inner truths they may reveal, cannot change a person’s life, let alone the world. The sanest and most balanced community in the movie seems to be that of the rancher/cowboy married to a Mexican woman. He’s a conservative character continuing the tradition of his forbears, but as a man of the West he also has something of the frontier/individualist spirit. Anyway, if the two bikers are set upon by rednecks in EASY RIDER, a group of white filmmakers are set upon by indigenous natives of some South American country in Hopper’s next film THE LAST MOVIE. It upset a lot of counterculture people because it showed that non-whites and primitive folks could be just as violent and murderous as white folks, and Hopper was even physically attacked by a peacenik liberal woman who hated the movie. And in the 1980s, Hopper made COLORS, a movie about the tribal divide in L.A among the various street gangs, especially Negroes and Mexicans. It was as if Hopper was saying the core of human nature is essentially tribal, and it is a universal fact. It was true not only among rednecks in EASY RIDER but among the primitives in THE LAST MOVIE and among blacks and Chicanos in COLORS.

Though Kurosawa generally didn’t deal with sexual themes — at least not openly as with Shohei Imamura, David Lynch, Atom Egoyan, Nagisa Oshima, Stanley Kubrick, etc. — , there is an element of the destabilizing power of sexuality in some of his films. It’s quite obvious in RASHOMON where rape — and fight over a woman — is central to the narrative. Even so, Kurosawa was more interested in the relational dynamic between male and female than with sexuality itself. Sometimes, men’s competition for a woman can bring about disaster, as in RASHOMON. But sexual rage can also inspire a man to reckless courage. The main reason why one farmer decides to fight in SEVEN SAMURAI was because his wife was taken by the bandits; he’s almost as angry as the John Wayne character in THE SEARCHERS. Had his wife been with him, he might not have been so willing to fight and risk all. In BAD SLEEP WELL and YOJIMBO, female characters lead men astray from their goals, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just like Sanjuro is committed to working surreptitiously to bring down both sides, the main character of BAD SLEEP WELL works behind secretly to set corrupt corporate big shots against one another. Both characters are undermined by their sentimentality regarding a woman. Though Sanjuro doesn’t fall in love with the woman in YOJIMBO, he is moved enough to save her, and his act of decency unleashes a chain of events that nearly gets him killed. In BAD SLEEP WELL, the main character is eventually killed because the woman he comes to love unwittingly reveals his hideout. And yet, both characters are humanized and morally redeemed by their contact with the female characters. Sanjuro shows not that he’s not just a cynical operator who wants to see a whole bunch of people die; he does have a heart for good people. And the character in BAD SLEEP WELL, though initially motivated by revenge, comes to realize that there’s no such thing as absolute justice. Not only are his motives impure — personal than moral — , but he comes to realize that he’s using other people in the way that corporate bigshots had used his late father. And by taking revenge on his father-in-law, he will inevitably hurt the man’s daughter, the woman he married only to get near her father but for whom he began to develop genuine feelings. Anyway, though Kurosawa was interested in the dynamic between man and woman, he didn’t have much to say about sexuality itself, and I don’t recall scenes of female nudity in his films.

Though Kurosawa reworked many of his themes, he found different angles and ways to approach and arrange them. Thug, revenge and/or deceit might be a positive force in some of his films but a negative one in others. Though Kurosawa had a moral, earnest, and even didactic side, one of his favorite themes involved deception, cunning, manipulation, and secrecy. MEN WHO TREAD ON TIGER’S TALE is almost entirely about the art of deception as a band of samurai dressed as monks try to guide their lord — disguised as a commoner — across enemy territory. Though the comic role by the monkey-faced actor is too much, the film is one of Kurosawa’s subtlest works and very revealing about the contradiction at the core of Japanese culture — indeed no less so than in THE LOYAL 47 RONIN. The most moving scene is when one of the samurai hits his lord — dressed as a commoner — to dispel any doubt among the enemy that the man is anything but a commoner. It is both an act of profound loyalty and profane shame. As with the men of THE LOYAL 47 RONIN, the samurai violates the code of servitude in order to save his lord’s life in higher servitude. Though the effete Heian-ish lord later assures the samurai that he fully understands why the samurai did what he did, the samurai is overcome with emotions because he’d felt compelled to do what a samurai should never to do his lord. The equivalent for a Christian would be being forced to step on the Crucifix, which is indeed the central conflict in Shusaku Endo’s SILENCE where a Spanish priest is compelled to step on the Crucifix of his Lord in order to save a community of peasants. (One might say the West had achieved a higher form of morality for the character of SILENCE is willing to step on the image of God Himself to save poor folks whereas Japanese morality, even in MEN WHO TREAD ON TIGER’S TAIL, is all about the inferiors making sacrifices to serve the superior. In Kurosawa’s film, the inferior treats his superior as an inferior in order to save the superior.) Deception plays a key role in STRAY DOG where Mifune’s character has to go undercover — and even mingle with criminals — to recover his pistol that is in the hands of a criminal. In IKIRU, the old man keeps the reasons for his sudden change of direction hidden from everyone. While earnestly devoting himself towards a simple goal, he’s motivated by a personal search of meaning. One might even say the playground he helps build is like an anonymous monument to himself, an act of both ego and egolessness. Much of the violence in SEVEN SAMURAI depends on subterfuge and secrecy. The farmers secretly hire samurai. And when bandit scouts scour the land for clues, the samurai hide and capture the scouts, and then the samurai hit the bandit camp with a surprise attack. And the war, as furious as it is, is also a game of cat-and-mouse and hide-and-seek, as both sides possess different advantages. But the hide-and-seek game is also played between samurai and farmers, who though allies, have their unbridgeable differences. One farmer forces his daughter to dress like a boy, and when the female ‘boy’ falls in love with a young samurai, they keep their love a secret. And though the whole idea of fighting the bandits was initiated by an angry farmer, he conceals the fact about his wife — that she was abducted by the bandits — as a shameful secret as long as possible, and it only spills out when his effort to save his wife from a burning building gets a samurai killed. Anyway, while there are more farmers than bandits, every bandit is a hardened fighter whereas farmers can only be led to fight; samurai must both protect and lead the farmers in the battle. Each of the samurai is surely a better warrior than any of the bandits, but there are more bandits than samurai and each bandit has a horse. Most dangerous of all, the bandits have three guns. And so, both sides have to play as much by deception and wit as by muscle and numbers.
THRONE OF BLOOD, based on MACBETH, is about deception as the tool of ambition. As in many other Kurosawa films, its main character doesn’t know his own heart. Though very different from the old man of IKIRU in most respects, both the ambitious maverick-lord in THRONE OF BLOOD and the old man dying of cancer in IKIRU seem afraid to face facts about themselves. Though one works for evil and other works for good, both are driven by strange forces inside them. (RASHOMON begins with a woodcutter and priest who are troubled by the unknowable-ness of the human heart. If human nature is really so beyond human understanding, is ‘good’ really good and is ‘bad’ really bad?) And both are reckless in their own fashion. The old cancer victim uncharacteristically(for a Japanese) won’t take NO for an answer and keeps pushing his superiors to clean up a polluted area and build a playground. And the character in THRONE OF BLOOD cannot help himself from seeking more and more power. Once he crosses the threshold, there’s nothing holding him back, and he’s willing to risk all, win or lose.
I LIVE IN FEAR is comparable to IKIRU in that it also has a depressed old man on the verge of madness. If the old man in IKIRU is driven by his fear of death(cancer), the old man in I LIVE IN FEAR is driven by his fear of the destruction of all of Japan. He feels nuclear holocaust is just around the corner and his family can survive only by moving to Brazil. The man in IKIRU ‘sacrificed’ everything after the death of his wife and lived for his son, but in his old age, finds himself estranged even from his son. So, even as he fears death, he has nothing to live for. But in his final months on earth, he finds something to both live and die for and therein finds his meaning and peace. The old man in I LIVE IN FEAR is the opposite. He has a wife and several kids; he also has three mistresses and their children. He also owns a successful business. So, he has a lot to live for. His extended family is like his own clan, his own nation, and it is this pride as a patriarch of his brood that makes him feel this great need to escape the nuclear holocaust. He may be paranoid, but it becomes such an all-consuming madness that he secretly hatches and carries out a plan to persuade his family to move with him to Brazil.
One of the most memorable scenes in SEVEN SAMURAI is when the elder samurai Kambei shaves his head and disguises himself as a Buddhist monk in order to save an abducted child from a criminal. (It is like a mini-HIGH-AND-LOW.)
HIDDEN FORTRESS reprises the theme of deception-through-disguise in MEN WHO TREAD ON TIGER’S TAIL. A princess-on-the-run-from-enemies and her general are disguised as commoners in order to pass through enemy territory. It may be Kurosawa’s most action-packed movie, and it has scenes of wonder, but the pieces don’t really come together and much of the humor is forced; it also has a long slow beginning.
BAD SLEEP WELL, said to be partly inspired by HAMLET, is about a man employing deception to take revenge on the men who killed his father(who was pressured to commit suicide and serve as scapegoat to save his company from scandal); incidentally, if the press is presented in a somewhat positive light in BAD SLEEP WELL, it is the villain in SCANDAL where a tabloid rag prints salacious lies about a man.
HIGH AND LOW begins with businessmen using all manner of deceptions to outmaneuver one another, and then a kidnapper uses trickery to pry lots of money from the main character; and then, the detectives, instead of capturing the kidnapper right away — though they have sufficient evidence to do so — , hatch a plan to push the criminal into a situation for which he could be tried and executed for murder. But it makes us wonder if the detectives are acting professionally or out of a sense of personal vengeance. Worst of all, their stunt ends up killing another person for which they probably won’t be held accountable.
KAGEMUSHA is about a clan that takes great care to hide the fact its lord is dead by recruiting a double. But the trickiest part of the operation is that the double as ‘lord’ must fool most of the people of the clan who, like the enemies, think their lord is still grandly alive.
But the most chilling and alarming act of deception is in RAN, where a certain Lady Kaeda patiently hatches a secret plan to set everyone against one another — father vs son, brother vs brother, lord vs vassal, husband vs wife, clan vs clan, etc. — in order to bring down the entire Hidetora clan. Even Sanjuro has nothing on her. (We learn that after she was married to the first son of the Hidetora clan, the Hidetoras wiped out her clan and took over her father’s castle. Ever since then, she’d nursed a secret plan to manipulate and trigger events that will lead to the downfall of the Hidetoras and the burning of her father’s castle in the ultimate act of purification through fire.) In some ways, Lady Kaeda has something in common with Sanjuro of YOJIMBO and the vengeful son in BAD SLEEP WELL. They are all plotting wholesale destruction of a system out of personal revenge or a perverse sense of righteousness. But Kaeda is a much darker figure for she is consumed by a hatred that has poisoned her soul. The guy in BAD SLEEP WELL, despite his ruthless commitment to vengeance, is not without a certain sentimentality and indeed feels pangs of doubt upon realizing that his vengeance may hurt innocent people as well. As for Sanjuro, he just wants the bad guys to kill bad guys so that good people could go about building a new life. He is also appalled by the sight of a woman being used as a sexual pawn by dirty men of power.
Kaeda, in contrast, doesn’t care about anything but her own vendetta. In fact, she doesn’t care for herself either, but then, that may be her one redeeming quality; she is willing to sacrifice herself for something greater than herself: family honor. But mostly, she’s a vicious and vile woman. She not only wants to destroy the Hidetora clan — which is at least understandable — but demands that the head of the second son’s wife be brought to her. It’s not enough that the second son renounced and divorced his wife Lady Sue and married Kaeda. Kaeda, like the queen in SNOW WHITE, has the vanity of someone who cannot tolerate any competitor, even one as passive and resigned as Lady Sue. (On the other hand, maybe Kaeda’s hatred of Sue isn’t merely one of vanity. Sue made emotional peace with the destruction of her family by the Hidetora clan, and as a devout Buddhist, she loyally serves her husband and father-in-law. This surely offends Kaeda who believes in righteous vengeance. Though Kaeda and Sue are from different clans — destroyed by Hidetora — , Sue’s total submission to her fate may seem to Kaeda as an act of betrayal. Kaeda will never abandon the honor of her own clan whereas Sue has. Sue may have done so in the name of forgiveness and goodness, but is that really morally preferable to vengeance? Though I haven’t seen DISGRACE, I heard the father kills his daughter who was willing to submit to enslavement under the vile jigger-jivers who took over South Africa. So, Kaeda’s demand of Sue’s head may have some similarities with the killing of the daughter by the father in DISGRACE. It’s like THE SEARCHERS. Kill the whore who goes over to the other side and accepts sexual/cultural enslavement. The reason why Jews encourage white women to betray white males and to have sex with Negroes is because Jews are trying to destroy the white race. When the sexes are disunited, a people are finished. Think of what happened to the indigenous natives of America. Spanish took the women of natives and had babies with them. The rise of the racially confused mestizo population meant the fall of the pride and power of the indigenous race. Indigenous men had to suffer the shame of having their women having kids with white men. Jews are now doing this to the white race. White men are losing their women to Negroes, and Jews are encouraging white women to see this as ‘fighting against racism’ and brainwashing pussified white boys to see it as, “oh gee, we’ve come a long way.” Anyway, we don’t know if Lady Sue is really good-good in the Kurosawan universe because as RASHOMON, I LIVE IN FEAR, THRONE OF BLOOD, HIGH AND LOW, and etc. have demonstrated, we can never know the hearts of men/women, not even our own.)

One way to understand Kaeda is that she was driven mad by the tragedy of her family, but another way is to assume that she was born evil. Evil-as-an-inborn-characteristic-in-some-people was expounded in RED BEARD where the elder doctor(Mifune) says some people are beyond saving or reforming because they were just born the way they are — the crazy beautiful woman who nearly killed the young doctor may be such a person, i.e. born evil. Kurosawa seemed to have believed this. Some people are born with nice nature, and some people are born with borderline nature of goodness and badness. While all people can be good or bad depending on situation, upbringing, environment, and other factors, some people are born to be especially good and some people are born to be especially bad. Both those born especially good and those born especially bad are problematic, indeed crazy in their own ways. Lady Sue is a kind, gentle, and forgiving woman, but she’s so nice that she’s almost unhuman. Indeed, when she stares at the old lord who killed her family with her loving/devoted/forgiving eyes, the man is unnerved. I mean how can anyone be that good? Is it even decent to be that good? Isn’t such level of ‘radical’ goodness a psychotic pathology in its own right? Lady Sue is like a dog beaten by its master but forever trusting and faithful. She’s good but too good, more like a dog than a human. She represents one side of Japanese-ness, an undying loyalty to the master/lord.
Lady Kaeda has reasons to be angry, and in that sense, her vengeful plot can be said to be morally justified. Yet, there is more than ‘getting even’ that motivates and drives her actions. Like the crazy beautiful woman in RED BEARD, she has this need to destroy, to dominate, to kill. Like the kidnapper in HIGH AND LOW, she may have her justifications, but there’s something fundamentally psychotic about her nature. The kidnapper in HIGH AND LOW explains how he was filled with anger growing up poor, how he suffered as a medical student while the rich and greedy live like pigs. But all of this yammering is unconvincing as a justification of the crime he committed. They sound like excuses for an act of evil that was really driven by his evil nature; he sounds like Jayson Blair in his BURNIN’ DOWN DA MASTER’S CRIB. (After all, what Japanese didn’t suffer terribly in the postwar yrs?) Similarly, when Lady Kaeda explains herself at the end, we can understand the nature of her vendetta but it’s insufficient as an explanation of her true character, which may have been born evil. Would Kaeda been a more pleasant person had her family not been destroyed? Perhaps, but she still would have been the same vain, self-centered, and egomaniacal person. If Lady Sue is too good, indeed willing to remain a servile dog even to those who murdered her family, then Lady Kaeda is too evil, like a snake biting even the hand that feeds it. And both women were likely born that way, and there’s nothing that can be done about such people. Sue, in her sickening goodness, bows down and serves even the powers that wiped out her family. Kaeda, in her frightening badness, is willing to destroy any number of innocents along with the guilty to fulfill her personal vendetta. Most people are either moderately bad or moderately good. If the West was threatened by the radical badness of the Kaede-like Hitler during WWII, it is today being destroyed by radical goodness of Sue-like liberals who mindlessly bow down before hideous Jews, wild Negroes, and Third World mobs flooding into America and Europe(while stupidly bitching about how evil the Ethan character is in THE SEARCHERS when, for all his faults, he’s a tough hombre fighting for the pride of blood and soil, something that pussified white boys today cannot understand.)
Most of the corrupt people in IKIRU, BAD SLEEP WELL, YOJIMBO, and HIGH AND LOW are not radically evil people. They are petty operators trying to get more for themselves. They are driven to petty acts of evil out of greed than for the pleasure of being evil. In contrast to moderately bad people are the moderately good people, like the women we see in the opening scene of IKIRU. They aren’t saints or anything; they are just good simple people who want a better life.
Mifune was an interesting actor for Kurosawa because instead of being moderately good or moderately bad, he seemed to be a fascinating combination of extreme bad and extreme good, quite evident in SEVEN SAMURAI. Mifune’s character could easily have been a bandit than a ‘samurai’, and sometimes, he’s utterly selfish and egomaniacal. Yet, there are times when he explodes with a depth of emotions that makes him more human than most. Consider the scene where he takes a baby from a wounded woman and falls to the ground sobbing, remembering a similar incident in his childhood. A part of him wants to say ‘the hell with humanity’ and be like the thief in RASHOMON who steals clothes from a baby’s back, but another part of him wants to do the right thing, to be part of a worthy cause. The scene where Mifune’s character goes to the samurai with armor/weapons stripped from murdered samurai of defeated clans — murdered and stripped by farmers — illustrates this duality. He handles the armor like the man in RASHOMON handles the baby’s clothing. He seems insensitively impervious to the fact that samurai had been murdered and stripped by the very farmers whom the samurai are trying to protect. Yet, he’s overjoyed to show off these items to the samurai because he wants to help them win and to demonstrate his usefulness as a bridge between farmer and samurai. He’s overly eager to do good but overly oblivious to the dark side of certain things.
If Kaeda is cold, venomous, and reptilian — even her bursts of rage are calculated acts — , Mifune’s characters are often wolf-like. Wolf is not quite a dog but has some of the qualities of a dog. It can be sociable, warm, and trusting. But it can also be fierce and aggressive. In some roles, Mifune’s characters succumbed to and was destroyed by aggressive/mad evil, especially in DRUNKEN ANGEL and THRONE OF BLOOD. In other films, he ultimately joined the side of good, especially in SEVEN SAMURAI and HIGH AND LOW. But what was exciting about Mifune was always the sense that he could go either way, the sense that his nature, burning with both evil and good, was always a toss of the moral dice. Indeed, one of the big problems of RED BEARD is he’s just too good, a kind of mountain of virtue and strength who inspires others toward virtue as well. It undermines Mifune’s natural dynamism as a personality.

Some(especially of the feminist persuasion) might argue that Lady Kaeda and the crazy beautiful woman of RED BEARD — as well as Seibei’s wife in YOJIMBO among others — were made especially evil because Kurosawa wasn’t comfortable with the idea of powerful women, and there may have been something to that. There is the positive woman-of-power in HIDDEN FORTRESS, but she is one of Kurosawa’s stiffest creations and doesn’t really come alive. Most women in Kurosawa films tend to be either humble/virtuous or arrogant/vicious — though there are exceptions like the singer in SCANDAL. Another exception is the seemingly rude wife of the man with the tic in DODES’KADEN. When the man’s associates put her down, the husband gets angry and defends her as a loyal woman who’d stood by him through thick and thin. There are positive independent/modern women in films like NO REGRETS FOR OUR YOUTH, but they still tend to be more self-sacrificing than self-assertive. And the wife of the son in IKIRU is portrayed as more or less selfish and petty if not cruel or evil. And the dance club scenes in IKIRU and HIGH AND LOW suggest Kurosawa wasn’t the biggest fan of Western popular culture and tended to have a rather negative view of Japanese women who mindlessly followed the latest American fads and fashions. Also, though generally not stated in a blatant way, such women were more likely to go with foreign men, especially big beefy American G.I.s, even Negroes. In HIGH AND LOW, the kidnapper enters what seems to be a Korean-Japanese dance club filled with giant jive-ass Negroes high-five-ing everyone and twisting their fried-chicken-fed asses on the dance floor with Japanese women. Though Kurosawa doesn’t spell out, “Look at these crazy Negroes!”, you know the scene isn’t exactly approving, especially as the joint is associated with a criminal, loose women, loud foreigners, drug dealers, and dog-eating Koreans. It wasn’t that Kurosawa opposed the idea of foreign culture. After all, he’d absorbed a great deal from American cinema, European cinema, Russian cinema, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Mahler, and etc. In an interview, he said he grew up listening more to Western classical music than Japanese music. Kurosawa had no problem with serious, high, and/or moral Western culture. Beethoven was high culture, and many traditional Hollywood movies, even if not high art, had a strong moral component. But Kurosawa found himself feeling ill-at-ease with the flood of ‘shallow’ hedonistic culture after the war. He worried that Japanese were becoming overly materialistic and shallow. Though Kurosawa despised the military regime during the war, he felt Japan prior to the defeat was still ruled by a patriotic elite that wanted to shape the Japanese masses into a strong, serious, and healthy people(though, to be sure, invading Nanking and attacking Pearl Harbor were not the best ways to go about it). In a way, Japan was liberated after WWII from the repressive military regime, and the Japanese people got to enjoy democracy for the first time. That was good, but what worried Kurosawa was that the new elites, as servile dogs of Americans, had no real concern for Japan as a nation or culture. They were just out to stuff their pockets like the merchant gangsters in YOJIMBO. The military regime may have been brutal, but in its own way, it was genuinely patriotic and concerned with the meaning of what it meant to be Japanese. But in the postwar order, who really ran Japan? Americans made Japan democratic and supported/kept Japan as an ally in the Cold War, but Americans seemed neither to understand nor care about the real fate of Japan as a people and culture. After all, a nation is more than its political system. It has a history and a sense of culture; it needs a sense of meaning and destiny. Though new freedoms of the postwar era offered new opportunities for the Japanese to forge a new and better Japan, Kurosawa worried that maybe the vast majority of Japanese would just mindlessly ape the West in a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ fashion. In this sense, the dying old man in IKIRU might be a symbol of an ailing Japan that needs to find new vigor, new health, and new meaning. What the old man realizes is corruption at all levels of government and cultural rot all over the city, what with ridiculous Jazz clubs where some Japanese pianist goes yabbity-dabbity-doo and with strip clubs where women act like whores. To be sure, Japanese never needed lessons in perversion. The Floating World culture of the Tokugawa era owed to the rise of the merchant class, and it was rife with decadence. In a way, the Floating World culture was a kind of pre-modern mass-culture vulgarization of Heian court concepts. Though it lacked the refinement that was so crucial Heian noblemen and noblewomen, it embraced life as a kind of opiate and aesthetic expression, a world of fleeting breezes of sensation with disdain for the mundaneness of the world. And in the early part of the 20th century, one of the most famous scandals in Japan involved the case of a woman named Sada Abe who was caught up in a wild sexual relationship, culminating in her strangling the man to death — at his own request — , cutting off his penis, and running around with it. The story was made into the famous movie, Nagisa Oshima’s IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES(thought it should really have been called IN THE REAMS OF THE SENSELESS), a film many times more lurid than LAST TANGO IN PARIS though perhaps not as disgusting as SALO by Pier Paolo Pasolini, a film that is almost as bad as JEANNE DIELMAN. I’ve never been able to sit through IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES, but the fact of its being based-on-real-events offers us a glimpse into the Japanese character. In most societies, the woman-with-the-penis would have been declared nuts. In the case of Lorena Bobbitt, we found out she did it out of anger because her husband mistreated her. But in the case of the Japanese woman with the cut-off penis, it was a kind of lovers’ ritual of pure devotion to passion or something or the other. The Japanese public sympathized with her, she wasn’t declared nuts, and she was sentenced only to six years. So, according to the Japanese mentality, sometimes the act itself is less important than the spirit behind the act and the way of the act. Never mind the woman killed a man and cut off his whanker — and carried it around like a looney. What mattered is the woman and the man performed their perverted acts to perfection. Thus something profane became something pure. And instead of just cutting off his dick, there had been an elaborate ritual of tying him up, choking the life out of him, and then slicing off his whanker in sushi chef fashion. In Japan, even if the content might be disgusting or foul, it could be redeemed via pure devotion, proper spirit, and perfect execution. This is why seppuku, aka harakiri, became central to Japanese culture. The content of the act may be gross, but it was elevated into an artform. And at one point in Japanese history, the act of double suicide among lovers became fashionable, especially as inspired by a play called THE LOVE SUICIDE AT AMIJIMA. Japanese not only imitate the manner of life but the manner of death. And as with the story of the Loyal 47 Ronin, the act was appealing for both its reactionary conformism and revolutionary rebellion-ism. It was conformist in the sense that the lovers understood that the social order didn’t allow their romance, and so the proper thing was for them to die for their love. But in dying together, they were also rebelling against social mores that didn’t allow their kind of love. Romeo and Juliet didn’t commit suicide to confirm nor to conform to social rules. They did it out of pure despair and rebellion. In contrast, the Japanese form of double suicide involved the understanding by both lovers that there was no other way as social order must remain as it was. But as with the case of the woman who cut off her lover’s whanker, the act of double suicide had to be done with the proper/pure spirit and in the right manner, like a work of art, which is why the play served as a useful model and blueprint. Though I haven’t read KYOKO’S HOUSE by Mishima, the dramatization of its segments in Paul Schrader’s MISHIMA suggests he was working in the same vein.
The Japanese might have a special appreciation of French culture — and Mishima was a Francophile — because both peoples often tend to get carried away by the style/way of things while losing sight of the true nature of its content/substance. Thus, Japanese could become enamored of something foul and disgusting because it’s ritualized and executed in a manner that is said to be ‘pure’ and beautiful. Similarly, the French often got carried away with the brilliance and style of the thing at the expense of seeing the thing for its true nature, which could be rather tawdry. So, even though Marquis de Sade was some kind of a nut, he was a brilliantly perverse nut, and a cult grew up around his insane imagination. And though Foucault’s ideas were really quite dangerous — and even mad — his intellectual brilliance made him fashionable for awhile. And some French cheeses stink but come with fancy names, in fancy cuts, and along with fancy wine, and so people think it’s a real treat.
But this problem may have been even more pathological with the Japanese. Even a humanist like Kurosawa said he would have committed ritual suicide if the Emperor had told him to do so during WWII, and this despite the fact that Kurosawa didn’t like the military regime and never believed in the divinity of the Emperor. He would have done it because it would have been the pure and proper thing for a true Japanese. It’s like the thief in KAGEMUSHA knows he isn’t part of the Takeda Clan, but having come under its spell, he feels compelled to die with the clan. Ian Buruma was no fan of such mentality. He once wrote of an incident in the early 70s when a bunch of radical leftist Japanese students took over some institution and vowed to fight/die to the last man for their cause. Though the Japanese media people didn’t agree with the students’ demands — and indeed thought the students were being stupid — , they were actually more upset when the students chickened out and surrendered to the authorities without dying for their cause. Even liberal Japanese commentators felt the students hadn’t shown the properly pure Japanese spirit. Agree or disagree with a particular cause, Japanese admire the spirit of honor of men who, out of pure devotion and in proper execution, carry out their ‘sacred mission’. Ultimately, the students didn’t show the true spirit of the Loyal 47 Ronin, samurai who slit open their bellies, Kamikaze pilots, men and women who committed double suicide, or even the woman who cut off her lover’s whanker.
Of course, Japan has changed a great deal in the past few decades, and what may have been the case in the 1960s and 1970s — or even the 1980s — may no longer apply to Japan of today where new generations wanna be cartoon characters. On the other hand, Japan is still Japan in the way America is no longer America and Europe won’t be Europe in the coming decades. London is already Londonistan or Londongo-bongo. Japanese culture has grown stupid and weak, but it is still a continuation, despite the dissipation or dessication, of strains in the Japanese cultural psyche. In contrast, at least in the prevailing mainstream culture, I’m not sure what remains of the once great Anglo-America. And it’s likely that in France and UK — and in other European nations — , the entire native cultures and even peoples will be supplanted by more virile and aggressive energies and appetites of black Africans and Muslims. In the case of Ireland, while so many native Irish are leaving to look for jobs in other nations, the country is being flooded with tons of black African savages who are turning entire sections of places like Dublin into something that looks like the savage Dark Continent.

Anyway, returning to Kurosawa’s presentation of women, though he tended to be more prudish than many Japanese directors on the matter of sexuality, he was pretty much in tune with Japanese ‘sexual politics’ in generally featuring strong women than powerful women. This may have been, to a large extent, a reflection of social reality. As most power was concentrated among elite men in Japan, it wouldn’t have been honest to show a whole bunch of women of power. Instead, women in the films of Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kurosawa, Kobayashi, and others are often admired and prized for their inner strength. The woman in NO REGRETS FOR OUR YOUTH struggles through adversity to uphold the principles of her idealistic lover imprisoned and killed by the military. And in her own quiet resolute way, the wife in HIGH AND LOW is a tower of strength. Though the family fortune will be lost, she presses her husband to save the chauffeur’s kid.
For a man of his generation, Kurosawa’s view of women was certainly ‘enlightened’, but like so many traditional white liberals in regards to Negroes, he wasn’t very comfortable with the notion of Women of Power. Traditional white liberals were willing to help the Negro, but they wanted the Negro to be good and kind, not powerful and willful and do their own thing. A movie like TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD says the Negro needs our help and is deserving of equal justice. And IMITATION OF LIFE says we should weep for that sad Negress who done suffer so much, especially because her mulatto daughter don’t even call her mama no more cuz she done wanna pass for white. (It must be one of the most effective liberal guilt movies of all time. Even the earlier version that is mellower gets people all teary-eyed. It just goes to show the power of movies. It’s bullshit, but it even makes me feel for a Negress who is a fictional creation carefully designed to manipulate the emotions of folks such as myself. Douglas Sirk’s remake of IMITATION OF LIFE, or Aunt Jemima’s Daughter, was like UNCLE TOM’S CABIN for middle class white women in the 50s. Nevertheless, it’s understandable why people might feel sorry for a sick negress mama rejected by her daughter, and it’s pretty solid as melodrama. Morally, it guilt-baits not only white adults but white kids. White mother is made to feel sorry for the black mother, and the white daughter is made to feel sorry for the mulatto daughter. And both white mother and white daughter feel rotten about their own ‘racial privilege’ even though they are decent people. The movie seems to be saying the white mother and daughter are good people, but they are favored over the black mother and mulatto daughter by an evil ‘racist’ society. So, even if good white folks are not evil, their being favored by an evil system makes them complicit in the evil too, and therefore, they must do something about the social injustice. Now, if most Negroes were indeed decent folks, the movie’s message might have had some value. But as we all should know by now, a lot of black women are disgusting skanks and biologically programmed to be that way. And today, most affluent white liberals would rather hire Mexican nannies than black nannies. Since using blacks for menial and lowly labor is associated with the ‘racist’ past, it feels better for white liberals to hire Mexicans to be tomato pickers, baby diaper changers, and etc. For blacks, there’s plush government jobs where most of them don’t do shit while their asses grow fatter from all the easy wages and benefits as they shuffle paper back and forth. White liberals have a kind of fetish for ‘white guilt’. Indeed, it’s almost a cultural commodity that they brandish to make themselves feel special. If a white liberal wants to morally elevate himself or herself, he or she’ll go on and on about ‘racism’ — mostly of other whites of course, especially as ‘right-wing’ conservatives serve as easy scapegoats. Of course, white liberals will admit that they themselves may be ‘subconsciously racist’, but this very sensitive self-awareness is trumped as proof of their moral and intellectual superiority. And white liberals will pretend to agonize about their ‘white privilege’ and pledge to work harder to make for a more equal society — mainly by grabbing even more progo-privilege for themselves and their children while placing the burden of ‘affirmative action’ and ‘disparate impact’ on white middle class, white working class, and white trash class. And even white conservative elites are getting into act, supporting ‘affirmative action’, ‘amnesty’ for illegals, and ‘gay marriage’ so that they and their children will be favored by the Jewish elites too. In Europe, a movie like CACHE is the recent equivalent of IMITATION OF LIFE, or intellectualized version of Sirk’s movie. CACHE says not only are white parents guilty but their kids are guilty too for having enjoyed privilege at the expense of non-whites. Anyway, IMITATION OF LIFE at least makes some sense as social melodrama. What I really don’t understand is all them white boys who be crying their eyes out watching GREEN MILE where they’re supposed to believe that a mountain-sized Negro in prison would rather love a wittle white mouse than lust after some whiteboy’s ass to buttfuc* and rip open. One might say the story was set in the bad old days of ‘racism’, but the idea of a giant muscular Negro hugging a wittle white mouse is so hilariously ludicrous that what kind of white person in this day and age would fall for such neo-UNCLE-TOM’S-CABIN shit? At least Uncle Tom was an old black man, but just look at the Negro in GREEN MILE. The dude looks like he could crush and eat Mike Tyson for lunch, but we are supposed to believe that all he wants to do is wuv a wittle white mouse. I mean what in the hell is that? And the notion that some Negro would willingly sacrifice his life to redeem the white man’s soul isn’t just some fantasy but a form of mental retardation.) In a way, white liberals and leftists wanted to elevate the Negro in the 1950s but also feared the Negroes would be led astray, not least by their own brand of crazy politics and the hedonistic allure of capitalism. White liberals wanted Negroes to rise as good/decent Negroes committed to ‘progressive values’. They wanted Negroes to lock arms with white liberals and sing “We Shall Overcome.” But as the 60s rolled on, willful and angry blacks broke away from the ‘lame’ and ‘white bread’ progressive community of singing lame songs like ‘Blowing in the Wind’ and ‘We Shall Overcome’ and instead formed their own political agenda and identity. Instead of being part of the progress led by white liberals, they built whole new agenda called Black Power politics. And instead of being Noble Negroes like Jackie Robinson and Floyd Patterson, blacks began to act more like Muhammad Ali who, in the heady days of the 60s, offended as many white liberals as well as conservatives. If white conservatives saw him as an ‘uppity nigger’, white liberals saw him as a childish lout who didn’t play along with the progressive agenda of liberal unity where decent whites would lead and decent blacks would follow. Instead, the fool was yelling “I AM THE GREATEST” and acting like a clown-thug. And culturally, it seemed as though blacks got tired of locking arms with white liberals and singing ‘We Shall Overcome’. Instead, most blacks were wild about consumer/capitalist/materialist culture of pop songs, have-me-a-Cadillac fantasies, and jive-ass funkery that seemed like egomaniacal Afro-nihilism. The dream of old white liberals was to free the Negro but also hope that the Negro will be a good noble person. He could be noble-humble like the falsely accused Negro in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD or noble-smart like Sidney Poitier characters in movies like LILIES OF THE FIELD, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, and GUESS WHAT JIGGER-JIVER IS CUMMING ON MY MUDSHARK DAUGHTER?
But too many Negroes were acting more like punkass Muhammad Ali: loud, boorish, and crazy. So, white liberals thought they could fix the problem by turning Ali into a hero too. If Ali could be bought by the white community and made out to be All-American, maybe blacks who were acting like Ali would at least be made to feel as good, patriotic Americans. Though the ideal/concept of Americanism would be degraded and ‘niggerized’, maybe uppity-and-loud blacks would, by identifying with the revamped All-American Ali, feel that they too have a stake in this country. But like all other silly white liberal hopes, all it did was pave the way for the rise of Mike Tyson, rap music thug culture, and interracist porn(pushed by venal Jews) where black men hump white ho’s so that dorky white maggots addicted to porn will whank off to fantasies of being cuckolded by their imaginary white girlfriends with Big Negroes. Even in the late 70s and early 80s as a child, I sensed this was where the country was headed, and boy, did I prove to be right. If you look around any integrated neighborhood and honestly connect the dots, you know
nature + freedom = whites turning into biological slaves of Negroes, especially made easier by Jewish elite’s control of our media, laws, government, finance, and etc.

Anyway, we were saying something about how YOJIMBO doesn’t invite too many repeat-viewings because the plot falls into a simple routine(of Sanjuro going back and forth between two sides) and doesn’t allow for much character development. Though Sanjuro resorts to trickery and intrigue, there aren’t many surprises once the pattern is established. And because the villains are thinly sketched caricatures and not very bright, there isn’t much suspense in the way Sanjuro toys with them; it’s like an adult playing with children.
This is why, as stated earlier, though ZATOICHI MEETS YOJIMBO is a lesser movie — and nothing like the landmark film that YOJIMBO truly is — , it is more rewarding in repeat-viewings.

The suave villains of ZATOICHI MEETS YOJIMBO are more than caricatures, and an interesting — albeit sometimes confusing — story develops around the characters. And the chemistry between Mifune and the incomparable Katsu is pure magic, and there’s an interesting female character too. And the film was ably directed by Kihachi Okamoto, the sometimes brilliant director of KILL. And also finely photographed by Kazuo Miyagawa, who also worked on RASHOMON, YOJIMBO, and many other masterpieces of Japanese cinema.
(Incidentally, I saw ZATOICHI MEETS YOJIMBO — at a revival house — before YOJIMBO.) I do not make this comparison to fault YOJIMBO with the possible exception that it might have been better with a more characters formidable enough to counterbalance Mifune’s dominance. As they say, it takes two to tango, and YOJIMBO is maybe too much of a one-man-show. Nakadai as Unosuke could have filled that role, but Kurosawa mostly kept him in the background as a shadowy menace. Otherwise, it’s understandable why YOJIMBO isn’t filled with more three dimensional characters: Intended as allegory and satire, a more realistic set of characters and situations might have undermined the comic overtones of the movie. Similarly, ANIMAL FARM’s allegorical intent calls for caricatures and wouldn’t have worked with personally engaging characters of BAMBI or DUMBO. YOJIMBO features social archetypes, not individuals. And so, YOJIMBO is powerfully effective on its own terms. And it influence on world cinema is undeniable, though ironically more for its ‘nihilistic’ style than moral satire.
It not only spawned a whole new genre of samurai movie but inspired the films of Leone — oddly enough, though A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS almost completely ‘borrows’ its plot, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is stylistically closer to Kurosawa’s seminal film — and changed the whole tenor New Cinema of the 60s. In that sense, YOJIMBO is as important to film history as Hitchcock’s PSYCHO. Not only did Kurosawa bring about a stylistic breakthrough, he unsheathed a new kind of sensibility that rocked the movie world. One could even say YOJIMBO was the first truly Rock n Roll movie, even more so than movies about Rock n Roll.. Mifune’s introduction in YOJIMBO established a new tone. He bestrode the screen not only like a movie star but a rock star. He wasn’t just a tough guy but a swaggering tough guy, and he used his weapon not just to kill bad guys but to make violent ‘music’; he killed for the thrill of the kill, just like a Rock n Roller used the guitar or mike-stand just for the sheer joy of volume.
Though one remembers god-like figures in the films of Eisenstein and Welles, Mifune as Sanjuro was a rock n roll god. He didn’t just stand tall. He swaggered and even turned his back to us as if he didn’t give a shit what we thought. Though a penniless masterless samurai, he had all the confidence in the world. He didn’t need anything or anyone to validate his greatness. He felt it instinctively, just like a rock musician who, though without fame and fortune, lives as a free spirit and the master of his own destiny. Even today, the opening scene of YOJIMBO easily impresses as one of the most electric and outrageous in cinema. We first see a mountain in the distance but Mifune steps into view and crowds out the scenery. He scratches his unkempt lice-infested hair. He’s a samurai bum without a home. He arches his shoulders, and hides his arms inside his sleeves from the chilly winds. He should be a nobody feeling small, but he walks like he owns the world. And the music, a combination of just about everything under the sun — traditional Japanese, big band jazz, classical, avant garde, circus music, etc. — is deliriously and blissfully outrageous in its put-on ominous solemnity and parodying hipster farcicalness.

Kurosawa didn’t just create a new kind of hero but a new hero-style: the badass. Generally, heroes of action movies tended to be good, clever, and/or tough but not ‘bad’ — as Negroes generally mean it. The Randolph Scott heroes in Budd Boetticher Westerns, for instance, are upright and good. And Alan Ladd in SHANE is noble like a chivalrous knight. And the hero of HIGH NOON is an upstanding hero, a man of principles. There was an element of swagger about John Wayne, but his heroism was of substance than style. He was red meat, to be served with potatoes. Lee Marvin was ‘bad’ but mostly played bad guys in his earlier movies.
Not all traditional heroes were entirely good, but they were troubled by their conscience — like the James Stewart characters in Anthony Mann Westerns. The truly ‘bad’ guys were the bad guys. (By ‘bad’, I mean ‘so good that they are bad’, with ‘so good’, in this case, connoting style than substance. It was this nihilistic streak in Jazz that disturbed a lot of straitlaced moralists. What was ‘good’ in Jazz weren’t themes of redemption, nobility, and spirituality weighted with sincere emotions but the deft, flashy, and stylish ability to outplay other players and mess with the audience’s expectations. Jazz was different from later musical forms like Metal, Goth, or punk music — and even rap — in that its core purpose wasn’t to violate and offend social or cultural standards. Someone making a lot of noise by clanging pots and pans would upset a lot of people but cannot be a Jazz artist. That would be closer to most punk and metal. Jazz artist, even while upending conventions, must show that he’s actually better, more deft, more creative, and more proficient than the people who play it straight. He must show that he’s breaking the rules and doing it his way because his way is above and better than the rules. This was why Jazz was seemed so dangerous. If it were only loud, ugly and offensive, it would have been easy to hate and dismiss it as ‘niggers acting crazy’. But as wild and crazy as it was at times, it could also be brilliant, fine, smooth, and elegant — seductive. So, when a Jazz artist is being ‘bad’, he’s being ‘so good that he’s bad’. He may be something of a hipster criminal but using crime as an art than mere thuggery. It’s like computer hacking is admired as an ‘art’ because hackers have to be as good or even better than the programmers. The best hackers are ‘so good that they’re bad’. Jazz artist was to the composer what computer hacker was to the programmer. Both the jazzer and hacker explored and expanded the angles, tangents, and unforseen contours of the products of composers or programmers. If a computer hacker is like a jazzer, someone who takes a sledgehammer to a computer would be like a goth, black metal, or punk music performer: just plain dumb.) Paradoxically, it’s like if someone is so very good, the rules of conventional goodness doesn’t apply to him since he’s beyond good, which also implies he’s ‘beyond good and evil’ — a kind of Hannibal Lecter or Dr. Strangelove territory. As a visionary, he creates his own ‘goodness’ unbound by the lame ‘normative’ conventions of the square masses. (Perhaps, the appeal of stuff like ‘gay marriage’ is the product of the mass-ification of nihilism. Or, it might be called the conventionalization of Nietzscheanism. Before the rise of modernism, most people were squares and embraced conventional or normal values and morality. But then, the rise of modernism spread the notion of avant-garde-ism and going beyond stuffy ‘bourgeois’ or narrow-minded hayseed morality. Even so, modernism posited that nihilism wasn’t for everyone since only special people had the intelligence, knowledge, vision, imagination, and ingenuity to create their own values. But in a democratizing world, it won’t do for such notions to remain only with the cultural elites. It has to be mass-culture-ized. But how do you turn nihilism and anti-normativism into a mass thing when most people are unfit to think on their own? You destroy normativism and replace it with new anti-normative truisms — like the ‘gay agenda’ and ‘slut pride’ — in a neo-moralistic way. So, when women today yell VAGINA, it’s a new kind of collective puritanism. They may feel ‘liberated’ but iron vagina-ism, in its collectivism, is Stalinism of the pussy. It’s not so much of a ‘vagina monologue’ as a marching vagina choir. This way, the masses can feel as having ventured outside the stuffy and reactionary ‘normative’ strictures, but anti-normativism has become the new normativism with the blessings of political correctness. I mean how anti-normative is ‘gay marriage’ today when so many mindless drones addicted to corporate pop culture think it’s the most important moral issue of the 21st century? How daring and different is yammering about ‘gay marriage’ when Wall Street, the most powerful institution in America, hoists the fruit flag on its premises? And how daring is gay culture when the media colludes to promote the notion that the rainbow is gay? Imagine that, one of the most beautiful phenomenons on Earth, and now it’s symbolically associated with men who stick their sexual organs into fecal holes of other men and with fat men who wear women’s dresses. We can all thank the Jews who control big media and Wall Street for that.)
In traditional action movies, there’s the good guys and bad guys. As for ‘badness’ — badassedness — , bad guys generally owned it, as in all those gangster movies. Gangsters were unlike common criminals in that they had style, ambition, and an excitement about them. They weren’t just after one big score like bank robbers; they wanted to be on the top of the world. Though James Cagney in WHITE HEAT is a son of a bitch, he’s a great son of a bitch. We follow him and even root for him because he’s not only bad but ‘bad’ or ‘badass’, ‘so good that he’s bad’ — though, to be sure, maybe he’s too crazy and unhinged to be truly ‘badass’; he has little self-control, something a truly badass person would have. Anyway, he’s only good at being bad but he’s so good at being bad that it almost redeems his badness. Good guys weren’t allowed to be so ‘bad’, especially in the traditional Hollywood movie. A good guy who acted too ‘bad’ was deemed to favor style over substance. In SHANE, Alan Ladd is the best gunman in town, but he remains good in style as in substance. Jack Palance’s character, on the other hand, is ‘bad to the bone’, and he shows it. And being bad, he doesn’t care if his style is ‘bad’.

What’s remarkable about the Sanjuro character is he’s guiltlessly ‘bad’ but also the good guy of the story. It’s as though, just because he’s good in substance doesn’t mean he has to be ‘good’ in style also. He feels no compunction to act like a ‘good guy’. From beginning to end, his substance is good but his style is ‘bad’. Though YOJIMBO was probably not the first film of its kind, it was the one with the greatest cultural impact. And even if it wasn’t much of a hit in America, many American — and European — filmmakers were paying attention, and its style, sensibility, and mannerisms has cast a long shadow over the cinematic landscape since. It’s obvious with the Dollars Trilogy of Leone, but it may also be found in some 007 movies with James Bond as the nihilistic hero untroubled by his stylistic ‘badness’; he seemed to enjoy killing people just for the style of it. And Sanjuro’s swagger in the opening scene of YOJIMBO can be seen in the final march in THE WILD BUNCH. Unlike in previous Westerns where the stolid hero or heroes walk solemnly and purposely to the final confrontation, the guys in Sam Peckinpah’s film exhibit the devil-may-care attitude of Sanjuro. Their commitment to save Angel may be all very good(and redemptive), but their style and attitude are ‘bad’. It’s the very opposite of the two old men walking in dignified lockstep in the final scene of RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY.
There was also a sensual fetish to the violence in YOJIMBO that was new at the time. Unosuke(Nakadai)’s showy brandishing of his pistol possibly inspired the scene in BONNIE AND CLYDE when Clyde bares his pistol to Bonnie who caresses it like a stiff cock. Directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, YOJIMBO was one of those films that changed film sensibility around the world. It breathed new life into cinema, a sense of anarchic freedom that inspired filmmakers to believe anything was possible. Its impact was comparable to Godards’s BREATHLESS and Richard Lester’s HARD DAY’S NIGHT. Whether Lester’s BEATLES movie is truly great or not is beside the point. What mattered was Lester opened a pandora’s box, a liberating sense something didn’t have to be moral and serious to be worthy of serious admiration, nor did it have to be formulaic and conventional to hit it off with the masses. A HARD DAY’S NIGHT was boldly original and revolutionary even as it was utterly silly and ridiculous — perfect corollary to the music of the Beatles and in tune with the new attitude that pop culture could be ‘art’ on its own terms.
It was this ‘rocking’ quality of YOJIMBO that made it so remarkable — and its first thirty minutes still has to rank as among the most exciting in movie history. It broke all the rules and laughed. A good guy guiltlessly acted ‘bad’. The musical score hyping the hero as godlike and superhuman also mocked and parodied his machismo — but he seemed not to care, no more than the lice in his hair. The philosophy of YOJIMBO was articulated in the sequel SANJURO where the hero explains that in a world of bad people, one had to be ‘bad-bad’ to survive and come out on top. If you’re good, you get eaten by the bad guys. If you’re bad, you just join with the bad. But if you’re bad-bad, you use the extra badness to beat the bad guys in their own game.

When the music stops in the opening YOJIMBO, the hero picks up a stick and tosses it into the air — rather like the ape in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. It’s a moment wrought with significance. Not only does it say something about the character — that he’s a rootless ‘existential’ wanderer, albeit of an island nation where one can wander only so far — , but it encapsulated the excited spirit of uncertainty at the time. As the cinema of the 50s gave way to the cinema of the 60s, new possibilities were opening up, and it was as if everything was up in the air like so many pairs of dice. The new prosperity that arose from the ashes of WWII made Japan and Europe both more confident and more anxious. In the immediate aftermath of the war, the main concerns had been the humanist concern for survival and commitment to moral redemption/revival, especially in response to the calamities unloosed by the ‘far right’ — Nazism, Fascism, and Japanese Imperialism. Even in America, this was the era of ‘save the world’ and ‘redeem the world’ movies of Stanley Kramer. The immediate postwar yrs were stressful times for Europeans and the Japanese, but there was a sense of certainty in the day-to-day struggle for survival and the political/moral squaring with the past. But by the late 50s and 60s, with the booming economies and rise of the new middle class, there was renewed confidence in Japan and Europe, but the speed of the reversal of fortune was as disorienting as stabilizing. The prosperity also provided an opportunity for amnesia, as if WWII and its related disasters hadn’t even taken place; but even as amnesia can repress anxiety, it cannot eradicate it, and so, it wasn’t long before the new prosperity/stability led to new kinds of cultural and social explosions in the 60s and early 70s. YOJIMBO very much captured the changing spirit of the times and was indeed one of the first works to herald it. It displayed a new confidence — even a brashness — in Japanese cinema but behind the mask of that confidence was a palpable anxiety and distrust of appearances. (For a duration in YOJIMBO, during the visit of government inspectors, gang bosses maintain a truce, and it’s as though the lull of prosperity and stability have returned to town, but it’s all just a facade, and Sanjuro knows it. Similarly, the old man in I LIVE IN FEAR feels that postwar peace is all just an illusion and merely a prelude to an even greater world conflagration. During WWII, it seemed like the world was coming to an end. But only 15 yrs later, people in Japan and the West were told that the ‘good times’ were here — even to get better and better and last forever. While many people embraced the new order, many were distrustful. Just how did the world so suddenly go from hell to heaven? And maybe they had a point. After all, just how did Anglo-America go from the top of the world in the 60s to kissing Jewish ass today? How did the mighty white Americans go from masters of the world after WWII to mental/sexual slaves of Jews and Negroes in so short a time? Never trust in ‘good times’, especially the notion that they are here to stay forever for your people. In some ways, Jews are smart to not let go of the Holocaust for there was something almost unbelievable about a people who were so down-and-out — and even faced with extinction — in mid-century to their becoming the most powerful people of the world by the century’s end. Jews maintain the Holocaust cult not only to browbeat and control goyim but to remind their kids and grandkids that they should never take their power and privilege for granted because history, after all, is filled with dramatic/sudden reversals of fortunes. Romans once ruled the world but were brought low by barbarians. And Anglo-Americans were once the greatest and most powerful people on Earth, but look at their sorryasses now. Chinese economy was smaller than Canada’s in the 1980s but is #2 in the world today. So, in a way, the main problem is not the Jewish use of Holocaust, however manipulative it may be. The problem is Anglos and whites have forgotten how to use historical memory to instill their own children with a powerful sense of unity, continuity, mission, and ambition.) Similarly, Godards’ BREATHLESS is something of a contradiction; it’s a burst of excitement and confidence but centered on themes are exhaustion and aimlessness. Its character breaks all the rules and makes up his own rules but has no idea where he’s going.
This sense of uncertainty could be found in other films of the French New Wave, and also in Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ where the famous director alternated between exhaustion(of artistic and moral deadends) and excitement(of new possibilities and expressions). Few yrs earlier, Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’AVVENTURA had caused a stir — much of it negative — when, at the Cannes Film Festival, it ended without revealing the fate of the missing woman. A new kind of uncertainty that was as liberating as laden with anxiety was being ushered into cinema.

Though a raucous ‘action movie’ with mass appeal, YOJIMBO violated old rules and taboos of cinema. Was it a ‘samurai western’? An ‘art film’? A nihilistic tract? Social satire or allegory? Was it moral? Immoral? Amoral? Anti-humanist film from a humanist director?
As fresh and spontaneous as YOJIMBO appeared at the time, it was actually a work of considerable strain for Kurosawa, around whom cinematic culture was rapidly changing and threatening to leave him behind as ‘irrelevant’ — as Beatles and Dylan would soon do to Elvis, who’d earlier done the same to Sinatra. Kurosawa made his name in the 1950s and, especially with RASHOMON and SEVEN SAMURAI, was considered as one of the most innovative and bold film artists of the decade. His peers at the time were Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, Satyajit Ray, Roberto Rossellini, Henri-Georges Clouzot, David Lean, Elia Kazan, and others.
But beginning in the late 50s, a new kind of cinematic sensibility was coming into form and threatened to relegate the major film artists of the 50s to the sidelines. The new sensibility derived from nihilism, youthism, hipsterism. Also from ‘radicalism’/‘purism’ and ‘populism’ or a combination of both. One of the strikes against Bergman and Fellini — among others — was that, as talented as they were, they were essentially borrowing elements from other art forms(theatre, novels, paintings, circus, etc) and transposing them to film. They did it extremely well, but they were not using cinema as an artform in its own right, with its own unique qualities possibilities — after all, one of the cornerstones of modernism was that each artform should shun
the tendency to represent external things and instead should explore its intrinsic qualities; a painting shouldn’t be a picture of something but an expression of the unique qualities of the artform of painting itself.
There was some validity to the call for a purer cinematic expression. For proof, consider the first dream sequence of WILD STRAWBERRIES. Powerfully done, but it’s composed in painterly fashion and meant to be ‘read’ that way. In contrast, Godard and Resnais were, with BREATHLESS and HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR, boldly and uniquely using cinematic language on its own terms; the camera didn’t serve(the characters and objects) but took charge; it became the cameracter. (The critic John Simon never fully appreciated this aspect of new cinema. He focused on what the camera caught than on what the camera thought. Bergman’s use of the camera was essentially theatrical and photographic; Dreyer’s use of the camera was more sublime, as if the images weren’t merely captured by the camera but dreamt by it.)
The other strain of the new sensibility(associated with ‘populism’) originated from the French critics — especially Francois Truffaut — who hatched the ‘auteur theory’. Though not necessarily pro-Hollywood, the new breed of French critics contended that certain Hollywood directors were genuine authors of their works and should be appreciated as major artists of the 20th century. A filmmaker didn’t have to be an Artist(working against ‘commercial’ Hollywood) to be a genuine artist. Indeed, some critics, such as Andrew Sarris, even argued that the best Hollywood directors as great as the best European ‘art directors’. To be sure, the notion that the director was central to a movie was hardly new, even in America. Who didn’t know, from the earliest days of cinema, that men like Griffith, Keaton, Chaplin, DeMille, Ford, Hitchcock, Hawks, and many others played a crucial role in the making of their films? If most American critics generally hadn’t paid much attention to directors, it was because most directors were or were forced to be studio hacks. And is it any different today? When it comes to 90% of movies, who cares about the director? So, the notion that French critics — and their American representative Andrew Sarris — put the director at the center stage of cinematic discussion is somewhat misleading, rather like idiot feminists saying “Betty Friedan changed EVERYTHING.” Directors had long been discussed by film enthusiasts. The real difference made by the ‘auteur theory’ was that Hollywood had produced its share of genuine author-director-artists.
Anyway, the new sensibility was beginning to dissolve and erode the barrier between ‘art’ and ‘entertainment’. Though Kurosawa had made entertaining works of art like RASHOMON, IKIRU, SEVEN SAMURAI, and THRONE OF BLOOD and artistic works of entertainment like THE HIDDEN FORTRESS, prior to YOJIMBO he more or less maintained the separation between the two modes. Some of his films were meant to be ‘serious’ while others were meant to be ‘mostly for entertainment’. It was with YOJIMBO that this dichotomy was exploded for good. Like DR. STRANGELOVE, YOJIMBO could be enjoyed for laughs or appreciated as satire. And it was like a Chinese Box where levels of morality and immorality enclosed one another. One could never be sure what was going through Kurosawa’s mind.
Like the moment when Sanjuro tosses the stick in the air, it was this air of uncertainty that imbued the film with vitality. It was moralist-humanist Kurosawa’s semi-nihilistic roll of the dice. YOJIMBO’s happy ending is also an unhappy ending, with the town strewn with rotting corpses amidst buildings reduced to burning ruins. It was hopefully hopeless, both exhilarating and exasperating.
Though YOJIMBO is one of Kurosawa’s signature works, it is also something of an anomaly given its full-blown modernism(in contrast to the humanist/moralist mode of his earlier and later works). Though Kurosawa had earlier — and would again later — grapple with the problems of the modern age, his core outlook was moralist and humanist, even traditionalist. Teacher-student and master-servant relations are very important in Kurosawa films. Though RASHOMON flirts with nihilism, it ends on a humanist note of moral conscience and redemption amidst despair and poverty. Of course, one could argue that YOJIMBO isn’t really nihilist because Sanjuro engineers the downfall of evildoers and does his best to spare the good people, but its view of human nature is pretty misanthropic, and there isn’t the slightest hint of mourning for the senselessly dead at the end(as there is in the ending of KAGEMUSHA). It’s the view of Travis Bickle as he drives around NY, hoping for the rain that would wash away all the scum. Though Kurosawa featured evil people in earlier films, wickedness was manifested through individuals, not through humanity itself. YOJIMBO sneers at humanity for the most part. It’s like if the US and USSR shot off nuclear missiles at one another and wiped out 90% of humanity, it would be no great loss. It’s akin to the morality found in the story of Noah’s Ark where God decides almost no one and nothing deserves to survive, that is except for Noah’s family and male/female pairs of animals.
Of course, YOJIMBO is a work of satire, and its message wasn’t meant to be taken earnestly. Even so, Kurosawa was working against his natural inclination as a moralist and humanist.
Not surprisingly, he grew somewhat troubled by what he’d help unleash as what followed was a torrent of samurai films — and even Yakuza gangster films — taking their cue from YOJIMBO. And if Kurosawa used the style of nihilism for reasons of satire — as Kubrick would do with DR. STRANGELOVE — , most movies inspired by YOJIMBO only cared about the style of nihilism as something cool and badass. It is no wonder then that SANJURO, the sequel to YOJIMBO, ends with the main character disgusted even with himself and that Kurosawa’s subsequent films were as different from YOJIMBO as possible. As if to redress the madhouse anarchy unleashed by YOJIMBO, Kurosawa made RED BEARD, a film of almost aching moral earnestness. (Similarly, it seems Jonathan Demme especially went into moralistic mode as a result of guilt feelings associated with his mega-success with the nihilistic and ‘homophobic’ SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Still, while all of Demme’s movies have been unwatchable since SOMETHING WILD, there’s always been something of worth in all of Kurosawa’s films after YOJIMBO.) Of course, even if Kurosawa hadn’t made YOJIMBO, much of the changes and cultural revolutions would have taken place in Japanese cinema. But YOJIMBO was special because Kurosawa combined filmmaking expertise with the youthful spirit, whereas many of the Japanese New Wave directors, such as Nagisa Oshima, didn’t yet know how to make a proper film — and, in some cases, didn’t even care to learn.

YOJIMBO, for all its freshness and subversiveness, was also slyly counter-subversive. Just as Sanjuro is said to be bad-bad in order to destroy the bad, Kurosawa was, in a way, trying to be subversive-subversive to out-subvert the subversives, and in that sense, it is something of a ‘conservative’ movie. In the opening scene, we see a young son pushing his father away, saying he wants to live wild and free and the hell with responsibility. Kurosawa could have been commenting on the new materialism of young people of postwar Japan who, with no personal memories of war and surrounded by rising postwar prosperity, seemed to live for the pleasure of the moment. And much of Japan’s popular culture began to reflect this, and already by the late 50s and early 60s, many were dismissing Kurosawa as ‘old school’ in his style, outlook, and values. And so, Kurosawa decided to play subversive-subversive. He would make a film more outrageous and ‘crazy’ than anything made by the younger directors who were claiming to be so wild, original, and radical. He would show them, and the result was YOJIMBO. Just as Hitchcock’s PSYCHO outdid the antics of younger directors, Kurosawa’s YOJIMBO outplayed the young turks at their own game. Though Kurosawa wasn’t yet an old man when he made YOJIMBO, he was feeling pressure from a new crop of filmmakers who were taking their cue from the ‘radical’ elements of the French New Wave and the like. In the early 60s, he felt like Elvis Presley being sidelined by the British Invasion. He was no longer considered cutting-edge, and even Western commentators began to notice that established directors like Kurosawa were hogging too much international spotlight at the expense of new voices of Japanese cinema. Kurosawa also came under competitive pressure from his peers, directors more or less of his generation. Masaki Kobayashi, with the three part epic HUMAN CONDITION, possibly went further than Kurosawa in depicting the tragic dimensions of the Japanese experience in the 20th century — and with less sentimentality. And Kon Ichikawa’s FIRES ON THE PLAIN was an entirely new kind of anti-war film, indeed strikingly different from his earlier BURMESE HARP that was in tune with the spirit of postwar humanism — tragedy laced with hope. FIRES ON THE PLAIN was almost like a prototype of THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD — come to think of it, the apocalyptic fears of Kurosawa’s I LIVE IN FEAR is also sort of LIVING-DEAD-ish. In story and look, it was relentless in its depiction of the numbing psychology of war. Its characters are Japanese soldiers stranded in the Philippines. They are so tired and hungry that they barely have the energy to be tired and hungry. Like zombies, they are like living bodies without souls. In its unremitting bleakness and lack of sentimentality, it was a real breakthrough, possibly the first genuine modernist war film. Ichikawa, surely one of the most versatile and brilliant directors ever — Kurosawa never made anything as brilliant as THE REVENGE OF A KABUKI ACTOR(aka AN ACTOR’S REVENGE) or anything as perversely twisted as ODD OBSESSION(aka THE KEY) — , used the camera not so much to depict the characters but as one of the characters. It’s as if the camera is starving and dissipating along with the soldiers, as if it’s just barely able to move another inch and keep its eye open to the dying world. As such, the film may come across as listless and dull as the gaunt soldiers, but the psychological effect is unlike anything found in other war films. The film staggers on and then dies with the characters, too tired and numb to do anything else. Kurosawa was surely aware of all these developments. Though his brashness and dramatic flair made him the most famous and popular Japanese director around the world, he may have felt that he’d sacrificed purity of vision — as that of FIRES ON THE PLAIN — for well-established cinematic conventions.
Then, it is ironic that YOJIMBO is both the most pure/uncompromising and the most popular(at the time of its release at least) film of Kurosawa. It could be said to be his most ‘radical’ work, and yet, in its rambunctious humor and devil-may-care swagger, it appealed to the mass audience. The opening scene with long close-up tracking shot of Sanjuro(from his behind at low angle) may even have been borrowed from a similar credit scene of FIRES ON THE PLAIN(where the camera focuses on a soldier’s profile as it tracks him for a distance).

Because of the cultural context in which YOJIMBO was made, some might say the innovative aspects of YOJIMBO looks a bit contrived or at least overly conscious. And yet with Mifune striding back and forth like a lone wolf — the first time he seemed unrestrained by any authority, convention, or consideration — , it is also one of Kurosawa’s most freewheeling movies.
In a way, YOJIMBO was Kurosawa’s final hurrah, at least in terms of his standing as a cutting-edge filmmaker. Though Kurosawa would win his greatest accolades in Japan with RED BEARD, win the academy award for the Soviet-financed DERSU UZALA, and regain international renown with KAGEMUSHA(one of his best films) and RAN, YOJIMBO was the last of his films that really changed the direction of cinema. For Fellini, it would be 8 ½, as his subsequent films were merely — not too impressive — extensions of that film. Bergman, another giant of 50s cinema, faced a similar problem in the 60s. Eager to keep up with the times, Bergman’s films in the first half of the 60s strained to be more intellectual and ‘difficult’ with works like THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, COMMUNICANTS(aka WINTER LIGHT), and THE SILENCE. Even so, Bergman seemed somewhat strained stodgy compared to new talents such as Godard, Resnais, Chabrol, and others. He was respected and had solid support from the more ‘serious’ critics and the old guard, but he was no longer at the forefront of the revolution taking place in cinema. Oddly enough, even the considerably older Luis Bunuel and Alfred Hitchcock were making more daring movies, works that would have greater impact on the Zeitgeist. Bunuel’s advantage was he’d been a sly devil from the beginning, and this playful quality lent youthful anarchic energy even to his movies in old age. Hitchcock, though his best days were behind him, still somehow managed to churn out PSYCHO and THE BIRDS near the twilight of his career. That it took some time for Hitchcock’s reputation to rise to near-universal acclaim is besides the point; even his detractors were feeling the force and relevance of his movies throughout the 60s. If many serious critics felt compelled to defend Bergman, Hitchcock was like a force of nature they had to reckon with, even in opposition. Even critics who didn’t take THE BIRDS seriously felt its power and were threatened by it. But just when Bergman seemed to be stuck in the rut as a respectable but behind-the-times ‘art director’, he came out with PERSONA(1966), one of the key works of 60s cinema that once again put him at the center of the map. It was so startling — as PSYCHO and YOJIMBO — that Bergman rightfully earned his stripes as one of the giants of 60s cinema. (Not surprisingly, PERSONA was inspired by illness and hallucinations, states inaccessible by intellect alone. In films like THE SILENCE and THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, Bergman consciously and intellectually sought out the dark muses, but it was with PERSONA that they visited him of their own accord. All genuinely great works of art, in this sense, are gifts from a mysterious part of the mind. It’s not enough for the artist to seek it; it has to seek the artist.) Had it not been for PERSONA, Bergman would have been an important but not one of the key filmmakers of the 60s. Personally, I think HOUR OF THE WOLF and especially SHAME and PASSION OF ANNA came to be overpraised because of the carryover effect of PERSONA. When a director makes a very great film, it tends to produce goodwill and hope-for-more among the audience and critics, which is why I think Fellini was forgiven for his indulgences for a full decade following 8 ½. But in retrospect, can anyone honestly say JULIET OF THE SPIRIT, FELLINI SATYRICON, FELLINI ROMA, and AMARCORD are great films? Same thing happened with Dylan. HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED and BLONDE ON BLONDE were so great that Dylan fans expected (and imagined) more masterpieces. Dylan delivered another great album with JOHN WESLEY HARDING, but things got more and more desperate with each new release. Initially, albums like NEW MORNING and PLANET WAVES would be hailed as the ‘greatest Dylan album since BLONDE ON BLONDE’, eventually to be followed by a backlash that maybe they weren’t. Only BLOOD ON THE TRACKS really lived up to the hype, but in fact, Dylan as a musical force — one making a real difference to the music scene — had faded in the late 60s. YOJIMBO was Kurosawa’s last film that really made a difference, as was the case for Bergman with PERSONA. Though Bergman continued to make some fine films and won international acclaim with FANNY AND ALEXANDER, it was with PERSONA that he showed for the last time what HE could see and do what others couldn’t.

Some directors have a distinct style, and Kurosawa had one of the most distinct. Though his works have inspired so many directors, you know a Kurosawa film when you see one. You notice it from the very first shot, be it from RASHOMON, SEVEN SAMURAI, THRONE OF BLOOD, YOJIMBO, or RAN. Stanley Kauffmann, in his review of KAGEMUSHA, wrote that he kept on muttering ‘yes’ while watching the film, by which he meant Kurosawa, having returned to form, was doing what he was meant to do and what only he could do. And in his review of RAN, he noted that the opening scene is ‘pure Kurosawa’. Exactly. There’s a force of nature — be it human, natural, or mythic/spiritual — about Kurosawa’s films. Some directors were naturals with action and characters while others sustained a detached, formalistic approach. At his best, Kurosawa saw and managed both the trees and the forest — a sense of intimacy and/or vitality/dynamism within the largeness of vision as especially evinced in SEVEN SAMURAI and KAGEMUSHA: both ‘elephant art’ and ‘termite art’, or elephant-sized termite-mound art. RAN opens with a series of grand static images of men on horseback gazing over green slopes of a mountain hill, but there’s also the visceral suspense of something about to happen. Though Kurosawa sometimes overplayed this force-of-nature dynamic — sometimes to the verge of self-parody(like when winds begin to suddenly stir up out of nowhere or raindrops the size of watermelons) — , his camera had an intuitive rapport with the forces of nature and human nature, a quality later shared by Hayao Miyazaki, especially in NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WINDS and LAPUTA: CASTLE IN THE SKY(and even MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO) before he got silly with Fellinisms of the awful SPIRITED AWAY and HOWLING WOLF’S CASTLE. Miyazaki’s most Kurosawa-like movie is probably MONONOKE HIME, but its overt realism didn’t jibe well with the distinctly magical qualities of animation. (When animation becomes ‘too real’, we might ask why it was animated in the first place. Even so, in the hands of a true genius, even that problem is hurdled with apparent ease as was the case with Spielberg’s TIN TIN, an almost unbelievable harmonization of ‘realist’ proportions/details and animated caricatures/exaggeration.)
It was this feel for power and nature that set Kurosawa apart from most action directors. The energies generated by his images and emotions were palpable, as if man, despite all his culture, laws, and manners, was an extension of nature itself — an idea shared by Tarkovksy in his imagery of man’s creations eventually becoming subsumed back into the sacred pool of nature. (Kurosawa’s vision of nature was masculine and aggressive whereas Tarkovsky’s vision was perhaps maternal and passive/patient. In Kurosawa’s films, natural forces are manifest through human behavior in the form of war, aggression, violence, greed, heroism, courage, redemption — everything noble and ignoble. Man’s aggressive nature can make him both a villain like the rebel-lord in THRONE OF BLOOD or a hero like Sanjuro in YOJIMBO. And both the evil kidnapper and ultimately conscientious businessman in HIGH AND LOW are naturally aggressive men. Kurosawa’s favorite images of nature involved storms, powerful winds, lighting, and heavy rain. In contrast, Tarkovsky’s images of nature focuses on hypnotic mists and serene pools of water. Nature could strike in the form of lightening and upend the world with earthquakes, but in the end, everything flowed back to sea and everything dissolved back to mother nature. It’s no wonder that Tarkovsky was drawn to the idea of SOLARIS, an ocean planet that dissolved and remolded private dreams into cosmic fantasies. And STALKER was like the scenario of SOLARIS transported to a patch of Earth called the ‘Zone’.)
Kurosawa’s vision/expression was organic than mechanical, and not simply because Kurosawa dealt with samurai in the woods than robots in the city. For example, RAMBO mostly takes places in the jungles of Vietnam, LORD OF THE RINGS takes place in some mythical forest kingdom, and AVATAR takes place in some extraterrestrial wilderness, but they all feel mechanical — and not necessarily due to the preponderance of special effects. There’s a certain slickness and well-oiled genericism where all the components seem locked-in-place and winding
like gears inside a machine. In contrast, despite Kurosawa’s masterly and god-like marshaling of natural forces, there was also a sense of supplicating to and channeling unfathomable forces beyond the measure of man. He was both like a god playing with thunderbolts and a hero fighting to withstand or harness them; at any rate, he wasn’t like an engineer playing with switches.
Something comparable to Kurosawa-isms can be found in the works of Sam Peckinpah, John Boorman(especially in DELIVERANCE and EXCALIBUR), and the John McTiernan of THE 13TH WARRIOR. As much as Lucas and Spielberg were inspired by Kurosawa — and as much as they’ve achieved their own kind of greatness — , their films don’t have the Kurosawan spirit, and maybe this owes to them having been raised in tame suburbs where they experienced most of nature and adventure through cars and TV. They never had the deep appreciation of the forces of nature as Kurosawa and Peckinpah — and Werner Herzog — did. Thus, while the works of Lucas and Spielberg are filled with awesomeness, it’s not necessarily the same thing as awe. In STAR WARS, the awesomeness is owned and controlled by a switch that can send a spaceship to travel at light speed. And even the forest in RETURN OF THE JEDI might as well be an artificial tropical forest in a state-of-the-art zoo. The other kind of mysterious power in the STAR WARS universe is the thing called the Force that allows even a green muppet to tear giant objects off walls for hurling at opponents.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS does have some genuine awe, but all said and done, the spaceship that descends over Devil’s Tower is a giant toy of a child’s imagination. Thus, it’s more awesome than awe-inspiring(like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY where we come in contact with powers beyond our imaginings). This sense of awe was one of the features of Kurosawa’s films. Kurosawa was awed by and appreciated the forces of nature — and that may have been why he was especially disturbed by nuclear weapons, for in having gained a power that was possibly greater than nature’s, man was on the precipice of playing god; it was ironic that Japan, whose great sin during WWII was believing itself to be a god-nation protected by divine spirits was defeated by United States that created the ultimate god-weapon, a neo-Promethean theft of secrets that should perhaps only belong to God or gods; reason that had distinguished man from animals AND science that had liberated man from superstitions/religions were conspiring to turn mankind into a new breed of animal-gods, an idea explored also in works such as APE AND ESSENCE, PLANET OF THE APES series, DR. STRANGELOVE, and AKIRA(anime).
Japanese well understood the power of nature for theirs was a nation periodically shaken by calamitous earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis. The looming clouds in the opening scene of RAN are majestic yet menacing. (There’s a similar cloud scene in I LIVE IN FEAR, which in a way, is like a forerunner of RAN. Just as the old father’s plans are challenged and undermined by his family members in I LIVE IN FEAR, the old lord’s plans are subverted and brought to ruin by his sons in RAN. The difference is the old man in I LIVE IN FEAR fears war and destruction looming on the horizon whereas the old lord in RAN thinks peace and prosperity are at hand. They have contrasting prophecies, but they are both under a delusion. There is no certainty about the future, and excessive fear and excessive trust are two sides of the same coin. In American politics, conservatives were excessively into fear mode during the Cold War and excessively into complacency mode after ‘winning the Cold War’. Both modes made for simple-mindedness that handed power and authority to the Jews. If Joseph McCarthy had not overplayed his hand, the Jewish Left wouldn’t have gained so much moral currency. If American conservatives weren’t so glib about the New World Order and End of History after winning the Cold War, they would have been more keen about new challenges. Instead, they just handed over the reins of power to neocons who reformulated American conservatism as an appendage to Zionist policy and Jewish supremacism.) But Kurosawa also understood nature as something that inspires people to feel alive, vibrant, and powerful. In the final battle of SEVEN SAMURAI, it’s like the rain inspires the samurai and peasants to fight with all their courage and strength against the bandits. It’s as if they’re not fighting merely as men but as forces of nature, as if natural spirits are on their side. And Japanese, with their long worship of nature, appreciated this aspect of nature. After all, the Japanese believed that their island realm had been saved on two occasion by the Divine Winds or Kamikaze when the dreaded Mongols came invading. And this myth took on literal significance during WWII when Japanese pilots, as if guided by divine spirits, used their airplanes like forces of nature to defend their nation from American military might.
This duality of nature is evident in many of Kurosawa films, perhaps in all of them, for human nature, especially seen through Japanese lens, is part of the larger nature. If Mizoguchi’s films expressed the more Heian-esque view of nature tamed into forms of grace, Kurosawa took the more robust samurai-warrior view of nature. The tensions between courtly fineness and samurai toughness can be seen in Mizoguchi’s TALES OF THE TAIRA CLAN, aka TAIRA CLAN SAGA set in a historical period when the samurai caste had yet to consolidate its power over the royal court and especially the Buddhist priesthood that vied for dominance(even by arming itself and terrifying its opponents) and control of the royalty.

One of Kurosawa’s most interesting films on man and nature is THRONE OF BLOOD, based on MACBETH. What Shakespeare used as metaphor on stage, Kurosawa brought to life as a force to reckon with. We first see Mifune as a samurai lord named Washizu riding through a forest with his companion. Though lost and impatient to find his way out, he is also in tune with the natural forces around him. He finds nature both oppressive and liberating, both a maze fraught with dangers and a pathway to personal fulfilment/power. Even as he tries desperately to break out of thick forest so as to return to his lord, for whom he won a decisive victory against the rebels, it’s as if he’s possessed with the anarchic spirit of nature driving toward dominance. Thus, his role in the suppression of the rebellion serves as a metaphor for his repression of his own rebellious nature; also, it’s in his interest to get rid of the rebels(competitors) if he is to rebel himself.
Washizu comes to feel he is one with nature, indeed favored by nature, in tune with wind, rain, trees, and mountains. But the power derived from nature that he feels within himself turns against him, rendering his fall as sudden and steep as his rise.
In a conflict involving only men, bigness and smallness are measured and gauged within human dimensions. But THRONE OF BLOOD conveys the mythic side of man(and the will to power) as expanded and dwarfed by the forces of nature. With the ‘blessing of nature’, man’s sense of his own power can become greatly exaggerated, as if he’s a god himself favored by fate. And with the ‘curse of nature’, man’s defeat can seem more total than it really is, as if especially preordained by natural/cosmic forces beyond man. Man among men is a man, but man in relation to nature is, paradoxically, both a god and ant.
It’s an atavistic view to be sure and perhaps no longer relevant to us modern people who don’t believe in nature spirits. But it was something Kurosawa was well aware of for the mentality that motivated Washizu the rebel lord in THRONE IN BLOOD also prevailed amongst so many Japanese during WWII. Only a mythic mentality could have thought igniting a war against an industrial giant like the United States could come to a good end. Only a mythic mentality could have believed that some divine force would protect Japan from the modern technological power of America. In the end, machines won, and it turned out that the nature spirits couldn’t save Japan. And even if the spirits do exist, maybe they played on trick on the Japanese mind to teach them a lesson about the danger of hubris, as the hot wind of man are offensive to the divine winds of the gods. It’s fitting that the rivals of Washizu finally prevail by chopping down the forest and using trees as cover as they advance on Washizu’s fortress. They use the forest as ‘technology’ than rely on its ‘magical’ powers. Similarly, while Japanese atavistically prayed to the forces of nature to magically defend Japan, Americans turned the materials of nature into objects of warfare, into superior technology. Of course, Japanese built war planes and ships too, but at the core of the Japanese mentality was the idea of the ‘pure Yamato spirit’ that would see them through against all odds, which is why so many idiot Japanese ran into battle against Russians and Americans with samurai swords though the other side was blasting away with machine guns and artillery. Against guns, Yamato was just a tomato.
Consider the striking differences between Washizu of THRONE OF BLOOD and Kambei, the elder samurai leader of SEVEN SAMURAI. Washizu is recklessly arrogant whereas Kambei is cautious and pragmatic. The son of the lord in KAGEMUSHA is like the rebel lord in THRONE OF BLOOD. He too seems to believe nature, divine forces, and fate are on his side. His late father understood the mythic nature of war, but he never mistook metaphors for reality. He used his armies like fire, wind, and other elements of nature but knew well enough never to lose sight of the limits of man. His son, like Washizu of THRONE OF BLOOD, thinks as though the forces of nature will see him through to victory. And in a way, both films were commentary on WWII, the decisive event in Kurosawa’s life that would directly or indirectly inform nearly all of his films.

It’s easy for us modern Western folks to mock the stupidity of Japan’s atavistic faith in divine nature to defend their turf in WWII, but maybe we aren’t so rational either. Never mind all the fools on the Christian Right who believe that Earth is only 10,000 yrs old. There is also the modern secular religion of Global Warming Faith. That Earth is warming seems to be undeniable, and it’s possible that man’s contribution to the warming is significant and that we should look for ways to solve this problem. People who outright reject Global Warming seem stupid and in serious denial. On the other hand, just look at the quasi-religious hysteria around the issue, and just consider the sheer contradictoriness of the environmentalist crusade. On the one hand, environmentalists say we little humans are nothing in the grand scale of things. Thus, we should show some humility and even worship Earth as Gaia or some mother spirit organism or the other. But then, the same people who are so filled with awe of the power of nature say we can easily destroy nature with ease by driving cars, using charcoal for bbq, and raising cows that fart a lot. And they have this absolute faith in our technology — current technology — to solve all the problems caused by technology. So, all we gotta do is build lots of windmills, solar panels, electric cars, toilets-that-don’t-flush-but-turn-shit-into-fertilizer-over-a-period-of-months, and ‘green’ coffee machines to save the planet. In other words, we should be humble before awesome nature, but we can easily fix the problems of nature with our technology. We are powerless before nature, but we have the power to tweak nature this way or that way.

In a way, the modern environmental movement is motivated by two opposing sensibilities: the idea of nature as an all-powerful-force and the idea of man/technology as an all-powerful-force. On the one hand, it worships nature as a power beyond man, and on the other hand, it worships man’s infinite power to ‘fix’ and ‘control’ nature, that is only if we all contributed more to Al Gore’s crusade. And in way, our worship of technology is, in some ways, almost as atavistic as Japan’s worship of ‘the spirit’ of Japanese nature and Japanese soul during WWII.
Ideally, science and technology should be controlled by rational man and should teach us about our limits as about our potentials, but there are so many people who seem to think all our problems can be fixed through technology, and this applies to all aspects of life. How to fix bad schools? Give every kid a laptop and wireless internet connection. How to fix obesity? Buy the latest exercise machine and ‘nudge’ people to eat more carrots. How to deal with depression? Here’s the wonder drug you need. How to reduce crime? How about more Orwellian cameras on every street corner and drones to hover all over America? How to win all future wars? How about more aerial drones and ‘smart’ bombs? That we have much to gain from science and technology is undeniable. But our faith in technology to fix all problems, especially those that require individual moral courage and real values, is making us blind to facts that need to be addressed. As long as we have this faith in technology, we figure all the problems will be solved down the line with new ‘instruments’ and ‘innovations’. So, never mind deficits; the new science of finance enabled by computer technology on Wall Street will fix the problem in the long run. And though America never got into a war as disastrous as Japan’s involvement in WWII, America’s disasters in Vietnam and Iraq — and maybe even in Afghanistan too — show that even a nation ruled by modern secular rulers can be just as foolish and delusional. Americans relied on technology to win the Vietnam War, but no amount of bombs and Agent Orange did the trick. Nor did gulag-like ‘hamlets’ suggested by American social scientists work out well either. And Iraq War was supposed to be a breeze due to our military might, new technology, and ‘scientific’ managerial approach to war — and the rational lessons we learned from the Vietnam War — , but America stepped in some deep doo doo. And though we are amused at the Japanese belief that the Yamato spirit couldn’t be beaten, are Americans any wiser for believing in ‘democracy’ as some kind of ‘divine will of history’ that is bound to conquer and win the entire world? (And was Marx’s ‘scientific materialism’ really scientific or a new kind of religious faith that converted generations of men into craziness?) While a functional democracy may be run and managed by rational principles, the idea that democracy itself is imbued with some kind of ‘historical will’ to spread all across the world sounds a bit superstitious. But it was just such superstition that made so many Americans believe that we could turn all of the Middle East into a ‘liberal democracy’ if we just toppled Hussein and planted the seeds of ‘freedom’. Now, it may well be that democratic ideas have universal appeal all over the world, but is there any guarantee that the democracy will prevail or that there is some intrinsic force in history that will inevitably turn all of humanity into good democrats — especially when America and EU nations are no longer democracies but Zionist global oligarchies where liberties are being eroded away on a daily basis? Thus, faith in science and ideology, like the worship of divine nature, can make us feel and think ‘atavistically’.
And in a way, the worship of the ‘progressive’ ideology in the West may bring forth a disaster far worse than what happened to Japan in WWII. Japan lost the war and millions of lives, but they didn’t lose their nation. But the blind faith in the ideology of radical universalism, egalitarianism, and multi-cultural ‘diversity’ is leading the West to open its doors to massive floods of barbaric Muslims and savage black Africans. Another irrational faith of the modern West is the supposedly ‘rational’ worship of the Jew. According to political correctness, any criticism or even skepticism about Jews or Jewish power is a form of dark, irrational, paranoid, and hysterical ‘antisemitism’, but is it really irrational to notice that Jews wield immense power, that Jews nurse hostile passions toward white gentiles, that Jews are a vengeful and spiteful people, that Jews are more intelligent and using their intelligence to dominate other peoples, that Jews are outrageously hypocritical in application of their ‘principles’, and that Jews are utterly shameless in their selective manipulation of history to make themselves the eternal victims of the Holocaust while all the crimes committed by Jews against gentiles — especially whites — have either been erased or suppressed from our historical memory? So, just how rational and sensible is the modern Western man’s worship of the Jew? And how sensible is the modern Western man’s remembrance of Jewish suffering in the Holocaust and his near-total amnesia about Jewish collaboration in the communist mass killing of millions of Christian Slavs?
And this question especially needs to be asked about white conservatives and rightists in the West. We all know that Jews have an intense hatred for white conservatives. So, why do white conservatives suck up to Jews like dogs to their masters? In some ways, today’s white Americans are even dumber than Japanese during WWII. At least the Japanese fought for their nation, a land holy to them since the beginning of time. In contrast, white Americans are willingly handing over their country — built by their ancestors — to hideous Jews, disgusting Negroes, and angry Mexicans. But even more alarming, Europeans are giving away their ancestral lands — where the bones of their ancestors have been buried for 10,000s of years — to a whole bunch of barbaric Muslims and savage black Africans. Politically correct fools often talk about ‘hate crime’, but surely this is SELF-HATE CRIME on a massive scale. But then, who instigated and encouraged such self-hatred among whites? The international Jews whose agenda has been to lobotomize and castrate White Power in order to rule the world.

There is a force of nature in the character of Sanjuro. We first see him move into a frame depicting a distant mountain range. Rough and unkempt, he’s like a wolf prowling through the hinterlands. If Jesus was said to be the human manifestation of God in Heaven, Sanjuro is like a human manifestation of the vengeful nature spirit of Japan. He is half-beast, half-civilized; he is half god and half man. Like Jesus, he has powers beyond ordinary man. If not for Unosuke’s Western gun(the nature-demolishing nuke of the 19th century), he would be invincible, as in three instances where he swiftly cuts down opponents despite being outnumbered. And each side in the gang war senses that whichever side that hires Sanjuro will win.

Though Sanjuro could take a more active role to bring about the demise of the gangsters, he bides his time to trigger events that will force the two sides to slaughter one another without further input on his part. He becomes personally more involved only because of the plight of a woman and her child; Sanjuro doesn’t so much care for the husband, however remorseful the man may be, for it was his careless gambling debts that forced him to sell his wife as a sex slave. There’s an Old Testament element to this — though perhaps variations of the theme could be found universally around the world — , as when God chooses to spare the few Good People before destroying an entire community or the world. There is the obvious story of Noah and the Flood but also the story of Lot and his family who are spared before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Lot was told not to look back, but his wife does and turns into a pillar of salt. The family saved by Sanjuro shouldn’t have looked back, but the man returned to leave behind a note of gratitude, which, as evidence of Sanjuro’s ‘treachery’, exposes him to the gang bosses and nearly leads to his death.) Sanjuro knows the main event he’s staging is gonna be bloody, with ‘innocent’ people dying too; and so, he finds a way to spare that one family from the looming apocalypse. (In a way, the most violent scene in YOJIMBO is when we first see the beautiful wife-mother who is held captive. It isn't physically bloody but emotionally wrenching because we cannot dismiss it with laughter, mockery, or attitude, as had been the case when Sanjuro slaughtered three no-good thugs. YOJIMBO is both nihilistic and a warning about nihilism, and as such, continues with the theme developed in RASHOMON where a commoner figures he shouldn't care about anyone or anything since the world is so rotten. There is an element of courage in nihilism in seeing the world with rose-colored glasses; seeing it for the cold, dark place that it is, but there is also a cowardly comfort zone within nihilism, i.e. it serves as a handy excuse for not caring about anything; it can serve as a rationale for petty greed and lack of concern, the attitude of the two gamblers in SEVEN SAMURAI as they mock the peasants, that is until a glimmer of humanity finally shines in their eyes. YOJIMBO is a challenge to both society and to us. It challenges society to admit how rotten, corrupt, and amoral it is. But it also challenges us not to fall into the trap of the nihilist rationale. After all, if society is so rotten, what about us? Aren't we part of society? Aren't we part of the rot, hypocrisy, and deception? If we use the rottenness of others as justification for our rottenness, why shouldn't others use our rottenness to justify their own rottenness? Two rottenness doesn't make it fresh. And indeed, it is such an attitude that serves as a rationale for all-around corruption and inaction in IKIRU. Kurosawa seems to be saying, yes, society is rotten, but that is no excuse for oneself to surrender to rottenness; it is no excuse for one to be stealing clothes from a baby as the commoner does in RASHOMON. If we adopt such an attitude, we might as well all be Negroes. Notice how blacks justify their bad behavior on the imperfection of everyone else and seem incapable of seeing their own rottenness--indeed the most rotten kind of rottenness in the world--in the mirror. The way YOJIMBO begins, we are tempted to agree with the commoner's attitude near the end of RASHOMON: since the world is rotten and filled with scoundrels, everything is permitted and one shouldn't care about anything. And such an attitude allows the hero Sanjuro to be 'cool' and detached about things in the first third of the film. What does he care if ten die, twenty die, or hundred die? They are all scum. But as Beatles sang, "For well you know it's a fool who plays it cool, by making his world a little colder." Being 'cool' has stylistic and nihilistic appeal, but when push comes to shove, it's no way to deal with the real world. Prior to observing the desperate wife-mother, Sanjuro's attitude had been 'cool'; he felt comfortable in his zone of nihilism and was at ease about instigating massive violence in the town, but the sight of the woman forces him to think again. It's like the scene in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER where Tony's older brother who gave up the cloth thinks the discoteque is fun and everyone's having a good time being cool, but when a troubled young man asks him advice about his pregnant girlfriend, the older brother is pulled back into sobriety. Fun is fun, cool is cool, but life's problems cannot be solved with glibness.)
Since the dawn of mankind, humanity has personified nature into forces driven by anger, righteousness, and vengefulness. Thus, when natural disasters struck — even a regular rainstorm or minor flood could be deadly to people without sturdy dwellings — , they were interpreted as God or gods taking actions against humanity that ‘deserved’ the punishment. But nature has a way of being non-discriminatory when it comes to meting out punishment — just like the carpet-bombing of cities. When the gods punished humanity, the good were punished and killed along with the bad as far as people could see. When nature/gods seemed angry with a tribe, community, or humanity as a whole, and so, nature/gods generally didn’t divide mankind into good and bad but demolished them collectively and indiscriminately. The nihilism inherent in such an understanding of nature/gods/God led the Jews to partially resolve the moral dilemma by turning their God into more of an abstraction so that natural events weren’t so much His direct actions for specific reasons than events unfolding according to some grand mysterious design whose ultimate purpose was beyond the understanding of man. So, if a natural disaster killed a lot of good innocent people, it didn’t necessarily mean God was angry with humanity or just being cruel. It meant there could be some other higher reason. (Some people think the Book of Job features God at His most wicked and cruel, but the opposite case could be made on the basis that God refused to give a clear answer. Thus, He ensured Job that man should not look upon every misfortune as a deserving punishment from angry God. Just because bad shit happens to you doesn’t mean that God hates you, is angry with you, or out to punish you. It could be God really loves you and is testing you. Or, there could be some other reason beyond human understanding as to why some bad shit keeps happening. Thus, God’s vague answer is as reassuring as it is nihilistic. Job had thought there was some reason for his ‘punishment’. He thought that maybe he’d done something wrong in the eyes of God but just hadn’t realized it, and so, he wanted to know what it was. God tells him he did nothing wrong, and therefore all the misfortunes should not be seen as ‘punishment’. They say when parents divorce, kids often think it’s their fault. Job similarly wonders if he had done something wrong that he hadn’t yet realized. But God assures him that was not the case. Some people might summarize this lesson as ‘shit happens’, in which case, you shouldn’t blame yourself. In a way, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE is like an updated Job story. George Bailey is a good guy but one bad thing happens to him after another. He think the entire world and even the universe are against him, but he learns otherwise. To be sure, unlike Job, Bailey was filled with hubris from a young age. He wanted to conquer the world, but he is conquered by the world — or trapped in his own little world, like the guys in GROUNDHOG DAY and TRUMAN SHOW — , and through such ‘lesson’, he learns a deeper meaning of life.)

Of course, collective punishment, though rejected as irrational, is still practiced in the modern world, especially by Jews against white gentiles. Jews, who made themselves the new god, push an agenda to punish all white gentiles for all times. Via the cult of Holocaustianity, all white gentiles for all eternity are supposed to cower before Jews, weep like babies, and beg forgiveness. And all of white history is to be regarded as one long story of evil of ‘racism’ and ‘antisemitism’ leading to the Holocaust. (To be sure, Holocaustianity doesn’t so much accuse as pre-accuse. If you worship Jews-and-the-Holocaust, you are a good innocent goy. But if you dare question or criticize Jewish power, then you’re not only being antagonistic toward current Jewish power but guilty of all the evils throughout history that led to the Holocaust. Holocaustianity doesn’t so much say YOU ARE ALL GUILTY; instead, it says YOU ARE ALL INNOCENT UNTIL THE MOMENT YOU START CRITICIZING JEWS. If you criticize Jews, your criticism is never considered in its own right but guilt-associated with the ‘entire history of antisemitism’. In other words, you don’t merely have a beef with current Jewish reality but you harbor the same ancient ‘irrational’ hatred of Jews that goes way back to the Ancient Egyptians and then Romans. This is why people are so loathe to criticize Jews. As long as they don’t and worship Jews, they are innocent of the Holocaust, the ‘greatest evil ever committed by man’. But the instant you criticize Jews, you are suddenly guilty of the evil strain that goes back to ancient times and gradually led to the horror called the Holocaust. Jews, the masters of psychology, have perfected the art of pre-accusation, a trap for those who dare to criticize Jews. Pre-accusation doesn’t require Jews to counter your arguments since your arguments have been pre-accused and pre-convicted as the evil that goes back to ancient Egyptian times. In a way, it’s a variation of Christian moral logic. If you worship God and Jesus, you are more or less innocent even if you’re a creep. But the moment you begin to question God and Jesus, you are accused of having killed Jesus even if you question Christianity in good faith.)
Thus, it doesn’t matter if you’re a crooked rich Jew born to a crooked rich Jew. You are holy because you’re a member of the Holocaust god-race. But if you’re a poor white gentile born to a family that had been oppressed under communism established and enforced by Eastern European Jews, you too must be blamed for the Holocaust and ‘racism’. And even if your family arrived to America recently from Poland — and the history of your family involves having been oppressed by Russians, Germans, and communist Jews, and furthermore, your people had NOTHING to do with oppression of blacks — , you too must be discriminated against by ‘affirmative action’ that favors blacks and Hispanics. Thus, the modern practice of collective(and eternal)punishment isn’t really any more rational or morally just than the kinds of ‘divine justice’ meted out by gods of old. Because Sodom and Gomorrah had a lot of fruiters, God decided to wipe out just about everyone. Just because radical Nazi regime waged war on other nations, even German women and children had to be killed in the 100,000s by Allied carpet bombing. And just because the military regime of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, entire cities filled with women, children, and dogs had to be nuked by Americans. And liberals call that the ‘Good War’. It’s funny how liberals condemn the Old Testament God for being so indiscriminately cruel while making apologies for Allied ruthlessness in the so-called Good War. Anyway, because of the indiscriminate violence of the forces of nature — thought to be vengeful power of God or gods prior to the rise of science — , there was always the hope that maybe God or the gods might at least spare a few, a handful especially worthy of sympathy and pity.

Such hope allows a degree of hope in both God or gods and in mankind. Hope in God or gods because it suggests that God or gods, no matter how angry and unhinged, still has a soft side to Him or them. Hope in man because there’s the hope that the few survivors will create a new community from scratch cleansed of the corruption and rot of the world that has been destroyed and is no more. (When there’s only a handful of survivors, incest is necessary to get the human tree going again, and so, one could argue that incest, though yucky, at least played an essential role in the survival of mankind. But what good ever came of two men sticking their sexual organs into one another’s fecal holes? Yet, no one talks about ‘incest marriage’ or ‘same family marriage’ while countless fools foam at the mouth about ‘gay marriage’ as if it’s the greatest moral issue of all time. What a decadent, degenerate, and trivial age we are living in.) Thus, the hope in the Noah story is that Noah’s family, being made up of decent and devout individuals, will not make the same mistakes that brought down God’s wrath on mankind. And we have the same hope for the family of Lot, but then things don’t work out that way because the germs of sin are embedded in the very hearts of man, even among the best of men. And so, a rift grows between Noah and one of his sons just because the latter saw his father naked. And Lot’s daughters, in their natural desire for children in the absence of available men, fool their father into having incestuous sex with them to begat children.
But the germs of sin could be said to be exist in God as well, especially since God is the projection of the human ego. The Genesis story says God tried to create a perfect world, but things didn’t turn out so perfect. From the fauna and flora He created there arose the Serpent that goaded Eve and Adam to eat from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge. But God’s failure to create the perfect world is part of a circular logic, for God was man’s attempt to create a perfect cosmic force/being. Thus, both man and God fail in their enterprise of perfection; they are two sides of the same coin. Imperfect man cannot conceive of the Perfect God, and so, God cannot be perfect even if He is said to be perfect. Thus being imperfect, God could only create an imperfect world. Man was supposed to be the perfect reflection of the Perfect God, but God was created as the imperfect reflection/projection of imperfect man. Thus, we can understand the appeal of Jesus Christ for He, in His own way, sought to harmonize imperfection with perfection. What can be more imperfect than the image of the Son of God as a helpless bloody pulp nailed to a cross? The most powerful Being in a state of utmost powerlessness. And there’s no indication that Jesus was particularly handsome or strong. And He certainly wasn’t rich or powerful in social or political terms. One might even say He was something of a ‘loser’. He was, in many ways, the embodiment of imperfection. And yet, there was purity in His devotion to both God and mankind, and there was great beauty, depth, and wisdom to the stuff He said. And though He got whupped real bad — just about as badly as anyone could be beaten up(and even worse in Mel Gibson’s movie) — , He was said to have triumphed over all that, ascended to Heaven, beaten death, and returned before His Disciples — and shall return to mankind once more. (But even upon return, He kept the nail marks on His hands — signs of fleshly imperfection on the perfect God — though He surely had the power to remove them.) Thus, if Jews fretted about and couldn’t resolve the problems of God and Perfection — if God is so perfect, why did He create such an imperfect world, and why didn’t He fix things? — , Christians came to believe that the issue had been resolved through Jesus. Jesus took on the limited, mortal, and imperfect form of Man, and He rubbed shoulders with imperfect people in the imperfect world. He ate simple foods and wore simple clothes. His followers were imperfect people, and there was even a whore among them. He touched the flesh of the sick. And yet, through the purity of His devotion to God, He showed that the Holy Spirit could be perfect and transcend — and also redeem — all the imperfections of the world. And even the most poor, powerless, dumb, sick, and wretched could, through the spirit of Jesus, touch that higher quality known as Perfection. In other words, you don’t have to be perfect to become one with that which is Perfect. Jews thought in terms of imperfect man and Perfect God, whereas Christians came to think in terms of Perfect God blessing mankind through the imperfect form of Man. To be sure, Christianity opened up a whole new can of worms that can never be satisfactorily resolved, but its great appeal isn’t difficult to understand.
Some of these themes/considerations appear in YOJIMBO. Though Kurosawa wasn’t a Christian, he was influenced by Christian morality via Russian literature, postwar humanism, and American Westerns. Kurosawa adapted Dostoevsky’s THE IDIOT(a story with a Christ-like main character) and Tolstoy’s THE DEATH OF IVAN ILICH(which became IKIRU).
Though 20th century humanism was essentially a secular ideology, it was rooted in Christian morality, and not surprisingly, many humanist post-war neo-realist Italian films were approved by the Catholic Church. Though overt Christian symbolism was rare in Kurosawa’s films, Christian-like ethos runs through many of them. As an artist more in sync with action and active participation than in meditation/passivity, one might say Kurosawa’s films are more Christian than Buddhist in spirit. (Christian ethos and emotions may also have been appealing to Kurosawa for there have always been elements in Japanese culture centered around the virtues of purity, devotion, innocence, earnestness, and sacrifice. Though Japanese never associated those elements with higher spirituality and universal morality as Jesus and Christians did, the basic emotions were there. Christianity adored the meek, the saintly, and the pure-of-heart who were willing to sacrifice themselves for the higher good and for the higher authority of God. Also, the Christian ideal was not to fight back, not to be angry, not to complain, but instead, to be resigned to one’s fate in the face of death. So, stories of Christian martyrs fed to the lions by Nero were repeated over and over. Also, weeping is one of the main motifs in Christianity. Jews would sometimes get awful sad and sob like crazy, but then blow their noses and go back to studying the Torah & Talmud and cracking jokes about dumb goyim. In contrast, the theme of weepery was a constant in Christianity. Though there are sad stories in the Old Testament, they come and go. But the persecution and the Crucifixion of Jesus is one long sob story. From the moment Jesus starts getting whipped to the moment when He’s nailed to the Cross and exposed to the elements, we are supposed to weep, weep, and weep. And because the Crucifixion of Jesus is so central to Christian mythology, it’s like an eternal moment, and so, we should still be weeping, indeed weeping every time we think about it. Many Christian church services are big on weeping; not so with synagogue services. Of course, the New Testament says Jesus reappeared to His Disciples and beat death, but that means we should weep some more with joy. So, if you’re a Christian, half the time you’re weeping with sadness and half the time you’re weeping with joy. Now, the emotional counterpart in Japanese culture didn’t become associated with some spiritual figure or some higher morality. But pure-hearted weepery was also an important element of Japanese life. The pure-hearted and earnest devotion could be to one’s parent, one’s teacher, one’s boss, one’s leader, one’s lord, or the Emperor. Even if unattached to higher morality, what was valued was the purity of the emotion and devotion. Not surprisingly, Japanese movies are among the weepiest ever made. Consider the daughter in I LIVE IN FEAR who is utterly devoted to her father even though she knows he’s crazy. And the invalid girl in SCANDAL has a pure saintly face and is so filled with goodness, and when she weeps, we wanna weep too. And a character in IKIRU speaks with choking voice as he remembers Watanabe at the funeral. Of course, it’s human nature to feel sorry for others and sorry for oneself. We are all guilty of something — as we’ve all done something wrong to someone that we’ve come to regret — , and we all feel others have done us wrong. So, we feel both wrong and wronged. We wanna weep for others — especially those we’ve done wrong — and want others to weep for us. And the genius of Christianity was concentrating and fixating this emotion on the figure of Jesus. In a way, He is the victim of the collective will of human hostility, distrust, and cruelty. Therefore, we all feel sorry for Him. Yet, as we watch Him die, we feel both guilty and not guilty. We feel both bad and good. We feel bad because mankind, of which we are all a part, killed Him. But we also feel good because in our sympathy for Him, we feel more virtuous than the people who really carried out the killing. It’s like “we are all bad, but we who weep for Jesus are not as bad as those who actually killed Him”, which today is like white liberals feeling, “All of us whites are evil and guilty for the history of ‘racism’ and etc, BUT we white liberals aren’t as bad as those Right-wingers who don’t feel as guilty as we do.” Anyway, even as we weep for Jesus and feel guilty about His death, we also feel ‘wept for’ by Jesus who forgives us and loves us because He knows ‘they know not what they do’. Thus, through Christianity, the emotions of weepery become mutual between Jesus and us. It has something to attach to and gain form and meaning from. In Japan, weepery never found a comparable pillar to wrap itself around. Buddhism was too detached in emotions for weepery. And the Emperor was an aloof figure hidden in some castle in Kyoto. And Shinto was about nature worship involving rituals with a bowl of water, not something you can get all emotional about. There was a degree of sentimentality in Confucianism, but its emphasis was on proper manners, not overt emotions. Because Japanese culture didn’t encourage individualism, Japanese didn’t mature and bloom fully emotionally. Thus, their emotions remained childlike on some level despite all the emphasis on adult manners and politeness. This childlike characteristic of the Japanese really wanted to cry like a baby, and in the absence of something like a Jesus figure or higher spirituality to embrace and cling to, weepery came to be attached to social relations. The emotions usually went from inferior to superior, but it could be the other way too: In IKIRU, the old man lives for his son and weeps that his ‘sacrifice’ hasn’t been appreciated. Weepery could also be therapeutic to some extent because Japanese culture and society were so constricted. Since there wasn’t much in the way of redress to all the social wrongs, the escape hatch was to feel sorry for oneself and make others feel sorry for oneself too. We can see this in Japanese films where the only thing a wronged person can hope for is for others to eventually see the errors of their ways and feel sorry. This was true of UGETSU MONOGATARI and many other Mizoguchi films. It’s also the theme of GATE OF HELL, where a woman sacrifices herself to protect her husband from some guy who wants to kill her husband to have her for himself — she sleeps in her husband’s bed, and the horny bastard kills her thinking it’s her husband, but when he realizes what he’s done, he feels really sorry, weeps, and promises to shave his head and become a monk. There’s some of it even in the story of the LOYAL 47 RONIN. On the one hand, the men enacted their vengeance in the name of honor, but they also want society to feel sorry for them for they paid with their lives.)
Buddhism is essentially amoral than moral for it regards even moral attachment and activism as a form of ‘attachment’ to the ‘material world’ that is only an illusion. Though Buddhism preaches against violence, greed, and wickedness, it doesn’t preach active morality and virtue either. Actively trying to be a good person who’s approved and respected by society would be a form of egotism; and the notion that society can be reformed and improved would mean reality is real than an illusion. The ideal thing is detach oneself from the world(emotionally and socially), go off on one’s own(as a monk in a temple or a yogi in a forest), and tune out the world. But then, Buddhism shouldn’t be confused with slackerism or hippie-ism for it is very difficult to reach Nirvana. Buddhism can’t just be about lying around and being lazy at a rock concert. Though Buddhism may appear passive and mellow on the outside, it requires intense internal discipline, not least to constantly purify oneself of attachments, which comes all-too-easily to human nature. People wanna have eat tasty food, wanna have sex, wanna have power, wanna have money, want lots of pleasure, want lots of comfort, want to form emotional bonds, and etc. People find meaning even in sadness — and there is a degree of happiness in all kinds of feelings no matter how depressing they may be. Consider the meaning to be found in mourning the death of a loved one; in the sadness is the remembrance of a genuine love.
In order to attain Nirvana, a Buddhist must work 24/7 to cleanse himself/herself of all these phantoms of illusion that haunt his or her soul. A Buddhist must purge himself/herself not only of happy thoughts/feelings but sad ones as well. He or she must be above and beyond emotions. He or she must know that even his or her parents and siblings were all illusions; every person tends to see himself or herself as the child of his or her parents, but Buddhism says every soul is a reincarnation of another person(of another family) or even another animal. You may think you were created by your mother and father, but you could really be the reincarnation of a monkey that was a reincarnation of a frog that was a reincarnation of a Negro. The only way a Buddhist must be ‘active’ is in the constant meditative process of purging his natural tendencies and wants. Paradoxically, a Buddhist must keep actively deactivating himself. But he must not be socially active.

From movies like RASHOMON, IKIRU, and SEVEN SAMURAI, it’s apparent that Kurosawa was a man of immense ego and powerful attachment to the world. He would not have been a good Buddhist. In the Kurosawan universe, man’s ego is an agent of great good or great evil, but good or bad, a man is nothing without the ego. One of the most harrowing things about RASHOMON is its depiction of how the ego can be selfish and selfless at the same time. Notice that all three of the people involved in the incident in the forest blame themselves. The bandit confesses and says he did the killing, and so he’s willing to face punishment. The woman says she killed her husband out of shame. And the samurai says he committed suicide out of despair. In a way, all three are being ‘remorseful’. Generally, we expect the accused to say, “HE did it, not me!” But in RASHOMON, each person accuses himself or herself to preserve the dignity of his or her own ego. The bandit wants others to know that he, in a fair fight, defeated a samurai and feels no fear in facing punishment. The woman wants pity. She says she was a blameless victim, but her husband stared at her like she’s trash, and so she couldn’t stand the shame. Though she blames herself for the actual deed of killing her husband, she’s really blaming the bandit and her husband for putting her in that spot. As for the dead samurai — whose soul is conveyed through a shaman — , he’s trying to hold onto his last piece of dignity(and possibly een begging for pity). Though he blames himself for having taken his own life, he says he was ambushed and tied up by the bandit and then he was betrayed by his wife. And so, feeling dejected by the whole world and filled with shame, he did the only thing a proud samurai could do: take his own life. Though he absolves the bandit and his wife for having murdered him, it would have been worse for his pride and dignity if indeed he’d lost a duel to a bandit or was killed by a woman.
This is why the accounts of what happened in the forest drive a Buddhist monk crazy. How could three people take the blame for the killing and take responsibility yet, at the same time, be so egotistical? (To be sure, there’s something very Japanese about the three particulars blaming themselves yet seeking redemptive loopholes through it. As with THE LOYAL 47 RONIN, there is a kind of moral contradiction. If the 47 ronin rebel in the name of higher loyalty, the three particulars of RASHOMON offer narratives that stain their hands in order to cleanse their hearts.) Anyway, the humanist in Kurosawa decided to end RASHOMON with an ending that is close to Christianity in tone. The woodcutter decides to take direct action and save the abandoned baby in the ruined temple and, by doing so, he restores some faith in man for the priest. It’s as if Kurosawa was saying, “Thinking too much gives you a headache, so ya gotta do what ya gotta do.” Not profound but moral. (The problem with RASHOMON is not the humanist message at end nor the framing device of three men seeking shelter from the rain. The real problem Kurosawa’s adding an account by the woodcutter that was not in the original story “In the Forest”, aka “In a Grove” by Akutagawa Ryunosuke. Central to the story is the Buddhist koan-like mystery of truth — and of the human heart — , and for this work, all three accounts of the killing — by bandit, woman, and samurai — need to carry equal weight. But the woodcutter’s account of the killing was intended to be exposed as a lie, which reverses the meaning of the story. As Jonathan Rosenbaum succinctly said: “The philosophically subversive premise of the story, at least by implication, is that all four narrators are telling the truth; Kurosawa's much more sentimental conclusion, made even worse by a hokey finale, is that everyone lies.” Bull’s eye but for the fact in the Akutagawa story there are three key narrators, not four. Also, when the woodcutter is exposed by the baby-clothes-snatcher as having stole the dagger with pearl-inlay, it further undermines the theme of the story. If the woodcutter pulled the dagger from the dead body, then it means the samurai was either killed by his wife or by himself, which clearly makes the bandit out to be a liar. Of course, one could argue that the woodcutter didn’t remove the dagger from the body but picked it off the ground, but I’m just sayin’... I don’t think Kurosawa fully understood the meaning of the story. Similarly, Kurosawa botched THE IDIOT by making its character into a total saint. While the character in the novel is saint-like, he’s more memorable for his weirdness and eccentricities. He’s something much more than ‘pure of heart’, which is what Kurosawa made of him in an interesting but ridiculously hilarious adaptation. Incidentally, the woodcutter’s version of the event in RASHOMON — added by Kurosawa but not in the original short story — serves as a kind of forerunner to YOJIMBO for the woman’s instigation of the duel between two reluctant men is later echoed in Sanjuro’s comical manipulation of the two sides toward mutual slaughter. Needless to say, the tragicomic account of the woodcutter is pure Kurosawa but hardly Akutagawa, and however well it may work on its own terms, it sticks out like a sore thumb in relation to the larger context and construction of the story.) Similarly, the old man in IKIRU finally decides to do something just to do it. He has only so much time left, and he won’t accomplish anything if he sits and mopes about the meaning of his life. The meaning comes through living. Prior to the illness, he’d lived without thinking about life, and now, it’s too late to get philosophical. The only meaning is in doing something of worth in the little time he has left: to die doing. This realization doesn’t require thought. It’s more about having a sense, a kind of inspiration that only comes from one’s attachment to the world. It’s miserable to die all alone but not so bad if one’s life’s somehow attached to the world; a kind of perverse twist on this notion is Kiarostami’s THE TASTE OF CHERRY.

And in SEVEN SAMURAI, it’s not careful or rational assessment that makes the elder samurai decide to fight for the peasants. Ironically enough, it’s from his realization that even an apparently heartless gambler scoundrel, in his own ridiculous way, could be moved by the plight of the peasants. And the character of HIGH AND LOW doesn’t arrive at the decision to ‘do the right thing’ through some rational process either, and he himself doesn’t fully understand why he did what he did. Under normal circumstances, issues of good and evil tend to be simple. Generally, being good is going along with rules of society and being bad is acting criminal or disturbing the peace. But there are crisis points in life when an extraordinary decisions must be made on an individual level or ‘existential’ basis. For Kingo Gondo(the character of HIGH AND LOW), being good is no longer about merely obeying the laws of Japan or being a good husband/father — or winning in business. He must make a decision that will alter the trajectory of the rest of his life and possibly reverse the fortunes of everything he’d worked for. What would be the moral guidebook for such crisis points in one’s life, especially when time is of the essence? Philosophically, spiritually, and/or morally, one might say Kurosawa’s films are informed by a kind of humanism, quasi-Christian ethos, and samurai honor/chivalry(as such may have existed). But the power of Kurosawa’s film derive from the realization that moral principles are not sufficient for moral action — and moral action is no simple thing in certain situations where so much of ‘good’ is entangled with the ‘bad’, which is certainly true in RAN, where men of admirable character honorably serve a ruthless lord. Kingo Gondo would have had good reasons had he chosen not to empty his savings to rescue the kid. The elder samurai would have had valid reasons not to help the farmers.
There are good reasons for doing the ‘bad’ thing, but there are also bad reasons for doing the ‘good’ thing. Kingo Gondo, after all, partly decides to do the ‘right thing’ because he knows he really has no choice. If he lets the kid die at the hands of the kidnapper, his reputation as a businessman is finished and bad publicity will bring him down. So, he’s ruined either way, so why not be ruined honorably than dishonorably? Why he does what he does is a mystery, even to himself; it is a RASHOMON of the heart.
Goodness and badness can be murky. In RAN, the character of Tango is one of the most decent for his undying courage and loyalty to the once great lord. But given the lord’s cruel and bloody history, why is Tango so loyal to such a brutal man? The other admirable character is Kunosuke, the adviser to the second son. The second son is foolish, and Kurogune carries out all sorts of bloody deeds for him. And yet, we can’t help admiring Kurogune because he is a genuine man of honor according to the culture within which he lives. Was Kurosawa, in late age, saying that loyalty is the most important thing in life? No. In a way, both Tango and Kurogune are also admirable for their realistic assessment of power. They both know their masters to be ruthless and bloody. But they’re living in a dangerous world where everyone is forced to take sides. It is a period of constant wars and betrayal. It’s not a world of good vs bad but of bad vs bad. Since peace can prevail in Japan only through unification under one lord and since superiority in power is the only decisive factor, even good men must bow before the logic of power.
Furthermore, there is something of the Loyal 47 Ronin mentality in both Tango and Kurogune. Though loyal, they will disobey their lords in the name of higher loyalty. In the name of serving the lord more faithfully, Tango disobeys his lord in the opening part of the film and speaks his mind. And Kurogune refuses the second son’s order to have Lady Sue beheaded(at the behest of the vain Lady Kaeda). Tango and Kurogune make a distinction between useful ruthless violence(necessary evil) and uselessly cruel/vain violence(unnecessary evil, therefore genuine evil). (Judging by films like I LIVE IN FEAR and RHAPSODY IN AUGUST, maybe Kurosawa thought Americans used necessary evil to crush Japan after Pearl Harbor but the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was just unnecessary overkill, unconvincing as means to end the war quickly in order to spare further loss of lives.)

Though the ruthless violence in YOJIMBO falls into the category of ‘necessary evil’, Kurosawa later came to regret its ‘nihilist’ influence on Japanese cinema. What he saw as a dark moral fantasy of ridding the world of wretches came to be enjoyed as a celebration of hipster violence, leading to a whole new breed of samurai films that got bloodier and bloodier, nastier and nastier, some almost pornographic in their violence. And the satire of YOJIMBO gave way to the utter cynicism of many of the later films. YOJIMBO has style to burn, but the style is integral to the story and meaning, not just badass style for style sake. (Kurosawa could have competed by making bloodier samurai slasher films in the 60s, but his moral sensibility and self-consciousness as an artist simply didn’t allow that option.) Oddly enough, Shintaro Katsu came to be associated with both the most moralistic and most nihilistic variations of the New Samurai Movie spawned by YOJIMBO. The series centered around Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman has to be one of the most endearing in action movie history. Though not without instances of splashy bloodletting, Zatoichi movies have one of the most sensitive, caring, and conscientious heroes and plot lines full of sympathy for women and children. But Katsu was associated with another series called RAZOR, which has to be one of the foulest and most disgusting things ever put on celluloid. (It would be no loss to cinema and humanity if every print of the Razor series were destroyed.)

Anyway, the character of Sanjuro enters the town like a force of nature, the wind itself. Indeed, ‘Sanjuro’, which means ‘thirty’ isn’t even his real name. When asked about his name by one of the gang lords, he looks outside and names himself after some bush and attaches ‘thirty’ or ‘sanjuro’ to it. He’s archetypal but unique nevertheless. Like Jesus was said to be both God and real Man, Sanjuro is both a god-hero archetype and a lice-infested stinking wanderer. He’s both intensely unreal and intensely real, which sets him apart from most other action heroes. He’s a walking/talking contradiction, which is why townspeople misread him when he first arrives.
The restaurant owner see him as just another hapless masterless samurai passing through town. And the ruffians of one gang mock him and laughs. Sanjuro’s realistic qualities make him come across as a mortal. But when he returns to the ruffians who mocked him and drops three of them in an instant, everyone’s stunned into silence. Soon, Seibei, the gang lord allied to the silk merchant is willing to pay Sanjuro 50 ryo; the highest he’d ever paid before was 2 ryo. In a way, Kurosawa blended gritty neo-realism and superhero nihilism, which accounted for YOJIMBO’s perversely powerful impact on audiences. They hadn’t seen anything quite like it, not even from Kurosawa who was famous for his powerful, dynamic films. It was one of those ‘out of the left field’ movies that rewrote the rules of popular culture as a whole.
Generally, heroes with great power tended to be bigger-than-life. And realistic heroes tended to possess vulnerable, down-to-earth powers. Though tall and big-shouldered, John Wayne usually played realistic heroes. Though he usually won, we never expected him to kill a whole bunch of men without much effort — as Eastwood would do in the Dollars Trilogy. Sanjuro, as played by Mifune, was simultaneously one of the most approachable/natural and unapproachable/mythic action heroes ever. He was ‘one of us’ and ‘way above us’. He eats, drinks, slouches, and scratches himself like a mortal but then springs into action like a bolt of lightning striking down ten men in a few seconds. He could also act rough and ‘bad’, indeed more so than even the bad guys, but at the end of the day, he was a good guy. He could be rude and good. He could lie but in the service of truth: ‘live a long life eating gruel’.
Incidentally, like Jesus, Sanjuro is beaten badly, indeed nearly killed, after capture and is then resurrected, his second finally cleansing the town of the wicked for good. Even so, the ending of YOJIMBO, like that of DR. STRANGELOVE — or TAXI DRIVER for that matter — is hardly life-affirming. Just because bad people are dead doesn’t mean plenty of good people are around. We get the sense the town now belongs not so much to the good people as to weaklings, cowards, and other forms of low-life — in other words, people like most of us. In the absence of big predators, the world belongs to scavengers and scroungers. It’s a darker version of the ending of HIGH NOON where the marshal throws down his badge and rides out in disgust.
Who are the survivors other than Sanjuro in the last scene of YOJIMBO? Gonji the restaurant owner is a man of some virtue, but what of the others? The coffin maker, though Gonji’s friend and not a bad sort — he provided Sanjuro with a sword before the final confrontation — , is essentially an opportunist. Though not one to initiate evil, he gladly profits from it. Other survivors are the silk merchant and the sake merchant, but the former soon kills the latter and then seems to go mad — like Hidetora following the attack on the Third Castle in RAN. Another survivor is the young man we saw in the opening of the movie; he was the son who pushed his father away, exclaiming loudly that he would rather live a short exciting life as a gangster than a long grueling one toiling under the sun. Though hired by Ushitora — leader of the victorious gang — and on the side of the bad guys against Sanjuro, he shrieks in fright after Sanjuro kills the others and comes after him. Sanjuro recognizes him as the foolish son, spares his life, and tells him to ‘live a long life eating gruel’, a revision of the son’s earlier complaint to his father. Maybe the kid learned a lesson and was ‘scared straight’, but he’s hardly an example of upstanding morality. He finally decides to be ‘good’ because he’s too scared to be bad.

Another survivor is one of the most memorable characters in the movie: Hansuke. He’s officially the constable(or sheriff)of the town but utterly useless in carrying out his duties. The bad guys probably installed him as law enforcer to use as puppet and lapdog. And yet, he survives because he serves all sides. He’s servile but not slavishly loyal to any side. Though he seems to be one of the most despicable characters, we don’t really find ourselves hating him. If anything, there’s something delightfully funny about him. In a way, he’s a weakling version of Sanjuro. Sanjuro is powerful and skillful; he has the means to play both sides to bring them down. Hansuke has no such power and no such means, and so the most he could hope for is to survive by playing to every side. And though he bows low at all times, he manages to keep his head above the water. Though not a good person, he’s not exactly a bad person either. In one sense, he is corrupt — and from a legal and official angle, very corrupt — , but in another sense, he’s one of the purest characters in the movie for he’s utterly true to his nature. He was born to be a jackal. In the wild, big predators like lions, leopards, and hyenas jockey amongst themselves to own the kill while the most that jackals can hope for is to steal a bite there and there. Such is their nature and the only way they can survive. Hansuke, small and weak but alert and jovial, was born to survive as a jackal, and he’s very skillful at it. He didn’t create the problems of the town, and he has no means to fix them. All he could do is use his wits to survive, and so he does. He didn’t care which side won the battle, and at the end, he doesn’t care that both sides have been destroyed. And in a way, he ‘served’ Sanjuro just as faithfully as he served the two gang bosses. Just like Sanjuro, he’s an expert at playing all sides, except that he has no means or skills to come out on top, and so he never bothered with anything but looking out for #1.
If Sanjuro had been born with Hansuke’s small body and wimpy personality, would he have been any different? If we judge Hansuke as a ‘constable’, he’s a lowlife indeed. But if we judge him for what he was born to be, a human jackal caught between big predators, he’s a natural. Paradoxically, his pervasive dishonesty also makes him one of the most honest characters for he’s truly a man without pretensions. Right after introducing himself as the legal officer of the town to Sanjuro, he gives advice on how Sanjuro can make some quick cash and begs for a commission. He’s the go-between the two gangs, between the gangs and Sanjuro, between the gangs and Shogunate officials, and etc. Thus, he plays for and against all sides, wittingly or unwittingly, it doesn’t matter. He’s unreliable but reliable in his unreliability, and thus useful to everyone and every side in some manner. And as lowly as he is, there is a need for people like him in all societies, especially following massive changes and in times of crisis. After WWII, much of the new Japan had to be run by the likes of Hansuke who was willing to work with the new boss, Uncle Sam. More principled members of the Japanese elites chose to commit suicide or withdraw into their own worlds than collaborate in the new order where Japanese would have to take orders from the occupying authorities. The fact that Kurosawa also chose to survive means there was a bit of Hansuke in him as well.
Also, though we root for Sanjuro in the movie, most real people are like Hansuke: weaklings willing to do anything to survive. Even the once mighty American wasp elites are now Hansukes bowing and scraping before the Jewish elites. And though the destruction brought about by Sanjuro in YOJIMBO may be fun in a movie, most people don’t want massive disruptions, and so, we make compromises to keep the order, even if we know the order is rotten. In 2009, how many conservatives really opposed the bailouts of Wall Street? Even though they made a lot of noise through Tea Parties and the like, deep in their hearts, they knew they had to support the rotten status quo since the collapse of Wall Street Jews(who hold all the cards) might lead to a bigger collapse for the whole economy; therefore, we all cut a deal with the banksters. Though such collapse might actually be good for America in the long run, there would be lots of short-term pain and social turmoil, and so we, as a nation, chose the easy way out.
And just look at the GOP. What with Neo-Con control of the party and the close alliance of Jews(even ‘conservative’ Jews)and gays, the GOP is almost certain to be for ‘gay marriage’ within a decade. Since Jews have most of the power, most Americans are Hansuke-like puppets of the Jews. Most Americans are not much different from the weaklings in YOJIMBO who take sides with one of the two gangs or don’t resist being owned by them.
Where Hansuke may be more admirable than most townsfolk in YOJIMBO or most Americans is that, in his own way, he is his own man. Because he serves all sides, he doesn’t belong to any side; and to the extent that he will serve and play to all sides for self-interest and self-preservation, he is again his own man. In that sense, it may be an insult to Hansuke to compare him to most American Wasps. Hansuke, no matter how cunning, isn’t servile to any single side. He plays at servility but to really serve himself. In contrast, it seems the majority of American Wasps are genuinely servile to the Jews(and also to gays and Negroes because Jews demand it). If American Wasps were truly like Hansuke, they would play the Jews, Muslims, Chinese, and Russians(among others)in the global order. Indeed, Asian-Indians are more like Hansuke for they take no sides and will play anyone against anyone for their self-interest. In contrast, American Wasps really seem to be owned by Jews, and this applies even to American conservatives, and even in the alternative conservative community — consider the fact that Jews have effectively blacklisted ‘racist’ white conservatives, but even people of the HBD(human bio-diversity) community are always sucking up to Jews or going easy on them. (Jared Taylor is so eager to prove to Jews that he’s not like David Duke.) And even if white conservatives are, on occasion, critical of liberal Jews, they feel this need to prove that they are not ‘antisemitic’ in their criticism of Jewish power by rabidly waving the Israel flag. Thus, even though 99% of Jews are against white ‘racists’, white race-ist thinkers feel this need to invite, honor, celebrate, and praise the handful of race-conscious Jews such as Paul Gottfried, Robert Weissberg, Michael Hart, and Ilana Mercer(who, by the way, is a libertarian at a time when libertarianism is hardly useful to white survival and power).

Anyway, it’s easier to be Hansuke than Sanjuro, and of course, Kurosawa himself knew this. After all, the main character of BAD SLEEP WELL, a man who tried to make a difference, is destroyed at the end — and in the new Japan that is supposedly democratic and run according to the rule of law. In ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY, the male character is pushed around by ruffians, and there’s little he can do about it; we almost get the sense that Kurosawa-as-a-young-man was been pushed around too, which may have been especially humiliating given his samurai background, being six foot tall(tall for a Japanese, especially back then), and carefree bohemian outlook. Though the samurai order has long vanished, he was raised with a certain samurai family pride by his athletically devoted father(who built the first swimming pool in Japan). According to legend, the samurai caste walked tall and proud and no one was supposed to mess with them — which is one reason why the samurai in SEVEN SAMURAI are so furious when they discover that the peasants had dared to hunt down defeated samurai; it’s one thing for samurai to fall under the swords of other samurai but somethign else for samurai to be hunted like dogs by lowly peasants with hoes. It would be deeply offensive even if peasants did that to enemy samurai.
In the new Japan, especially after WWII, social distinctions were fading fast, and even lowly street thugs could push people around and get their way — especially as the black market dominated by gangsters and corrupt officials was the mainstay of the Japanese economy for awhile. But the humiliation also arose from Kurosawa’s bohemianism. As someone committed to the arts and creativity, a part of him wanted to be above reality and living in his own world of dreams and imagination. All artists probably have this problem to some degree. They prefer their view of reality to the real reality. But real reality had its own rules and doesn’t care about one’s imagination, and so it’s something of a rude awakening when the guy is pushed around in ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY. (It’s like the intellectual Jew kid ‘who wants to dance’ fumes with repressed rage after being belittled the ‘Nazi’ Clint in DAZED AND CONFUSED.) One side of Kurosawa longed for samurai honor & privilege and feared the leveling forces of modernity and democracy. If the world is indeed dangerous and violent, better that ordinary people live under the protection of a honorable military caste than be pushed around by bandit thugs without scruples. But the protective elite could also become an oppressive elite, which was too often and for too long the case in Japan. Therefore, another side of Kurosawa loved the freedom and individualism of the new democratic Japan. But freedom didn’t mean everyone was equal for the ruthless and unscrupulous merely found new ways to gain power in big ways(like the crooks of THE BAD SLEEP WELL) or small ways, as with the ruffians and thugs in ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY and STRAY DOG. Also, casual bullying and intimidation on the street level could be psychologically worse than political oppression in some ways. At least in NO REGRETS FOR OUR YOUTH, the woman’s lover was killed by the military government, a case of a courageous idealist being crushed by evil. There is tragedy in that, and in tragedy a kind of meaning and nobility. But what can be said or done about being helplessly pushed around by lowly street thugs? One cannot even suffer nobly or tragically. Imagine if Jesus had not been persecuted and crucified by the Roman Empire, the greatest power in the world, but instead roughed up by a bunch of street thugs day in and day out. His suffering, no matter how intense, wouldn’t have been the stuff of myths. It’s no wonder that the saintly guy in Luis Bunuel’s NAZARIN goes crazy. He’s bullied and beaten by lowly thugs, and as such, there’s a dreary mundaneness to the hurt that can never rise to the level of tragedy. If you want to be a martyr, it helps to be knocked around and/or killed by big powers — as happened to Joan of Arc — than be pushed around, robbed, and killed by street thugs. We care about Jews because they were killed by the mighty Nazis, but who gives a crap about all the white victims of black street crime? Tragedy isn’t just ‘what happens to you’ but ‘who does it to you’. There’s no shame in having been crushed by a great power; if anything, there may be an element of heroic tragedy. But there’s no pride in being ass-whupped by street thugs and petty bullies, which is why Negroes get away with so much violence. (Perhaps, Negroes in the South didn’t get much sympathy for a long time prior to the Civil Rights Movement because most of the anti-black violence was seen as perpetrated by petty individual rednecks. So, in order to win noble/tragic sympathy for blacks, the Civil Rights Movement had to construct the new image of the all-powerful Redneck South where helpless Negroes were said to be crushed by the entire mighty system. Thus framing the issue created a David vs Goliath scenario. If whites want to survive and win, they too must construct an image of the Big Negro America that be attacking, raping, robbing, and murdering White America. The narratives of Negro villainy need to be unified and hyped.) Also, if so-called ‘humble’ humanity is filled with so many thugs and bullies, what is one to live for? It’s one thing to sacrifice one’s life in the name of good little people against the oppressive powers-that-be, but what if the people themselves are pretty rotten? There is a sense of this in RASHOMON where some low-life steals clothes from an abandoned baby and feels zero remorse; if anything, he exults in his nihilism. And of course, the flip-side of Sanjuro is the kidnapper in HIGH AND LOW. If Sanjuro went beyond the law for a higher good, one can just as easily go beyond the law for the lower evil.

Hansuke moves more like a monkey, chicken, vulture, jackal, and a host of other animals than a human. He’s neither predator nor prey but a scavenger looking for scraps of the kill. Ironically, despite his animal-like keen-ness for survival, he’s an expert practitioner of the art of manners, but maybe this shouldn’t be all that surprising. Though we tend to think of humans as ‘civilized and cultured’ and animals as ‘wild and free’, most animals don’t act ‘wild and free’; if anything, their ‘natural manners’ are finely and delicately attuned to their needs of survival; without such control, they wouldn’t be able to escape predators and stalk prey; chickens always move cautiously. And in a way, human manners are also strategies for survival for manners protect us from lurching into danger zones. A human with no manners may lose friends, his job, support from others; he may even get beat up by some bigger guy offended by his behavior. So, there is an animalishness about manners. It’s not just about being human(as opposed to animals) but a human way to transform animal instincts/needs into social strategies. And this aspect of manner is plain to see in Hansuke. He knows the rules of propriety and does his utmost to flatter and serve officials and powerful men. But the purpose is to survive and get a piece of the pie. He’s always careful to stick his neck out the door and look around before walking out, and he runs back inside at the first sight of danger. Even when he comes out, his eyes dart around for the first sign of trouble so that he’ll be the first to run and hide. We get a sense that he’d always been what he is and can’t have been anything else; Hansuke was born to be Hansuke. Thus, though he’s not an admirable character, he’s not an evil character; though we don’t like him, we don’t hate him either. His corruption is not for power or greed but for survival. And even in his corruption, he only expects and takes just enough to get by — and in this regard, he is also like Sanjuro who takes only what he needs; this is where the ‘Man with No Name’ is different from Sanjuro, at least in FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY where he wants to more money just to have it. So, even though Sanjuro at the very end tells Hansuke to go to hell, it’s said more as a joke than as a curse. Sanjuro understands Hansuke is just a scavenger and jackal, and there will always be people like him; there may also be a need for people like him to serve as go-betweens. And in a way, Hansuke, though unwittingly, served the designs of Sanjuro no less than the designs of the gang bosses and the merchants. A more formidable version of Hansuke may be the cosmopolitan Nazi in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS who’s just as willing to serve the Americans as he’d served the Nazis. Of course, the cosmopolitan-Nazi of Tarantino’s movie could be said to be evil for he relishes not only self-preservation but power, but there are times when such men are less dangerous than the true believers who will fight to the last; indeed, if everyone in town was like Hansuke, there would have been less evil and more peace; consider that most of the hired goons are afraid of death but posture as tough guys and are thus compelled to join in the bloodbath; Hansuke would always hide than fight and there isn’t a drop of machismo blood in his body; on the other hand, a society made up only of opportunistic cowards would be a world of rats; maybe Kurosawa was commenting that cycles of violence in Japan(and in Japan’s dealing with the outside world) killed off the men with stupid courage and left behind a world of cowering Hansukes; but Hansukes of the world cannot be blamed for the wretched violence that led to the deaths of so many tough men.

If YOJIMBO was meant in any way as an allegory of the Cold War, with Japan stuck in between the US and USSR, Hansuke represents the servile way of the Japanese bureaucratic class that will do anything to survive. Under the militarists, they’d done everything to serve the Imperial regime. Under Americans, they bowed to General MacArthur. Had Soviets invaded Japan, they’d surely served the Russians just the same. (Hansukes can be useful. Look what happened to Iraq as the result of removing the entire Baath Party bureaucratic class right after the invasion. As a result, American occupiers had no one through whom the daily affairs of the nation could be managed and run. Though Bush and neocons made a case for a new Iraq to be modeled on new Japan after WWII, they seem to have forgotten that Americans did NOT purge the pre-existing bureaucratic class in Japan but worked with them. Of course, this isn’t to say that everything would have worked out fine if Americans had worked with Baath Party members; sectarian differences might have exploded just the same; and given that American occupiers’ main alliance was with Shias, working closely with the Sunni-dominated Baath Party would have been problematic in its own way. Furthermore, Sunni bureaucrats might have done everything to undermine the Shia rise to power, and Shias might have distrusted Americans for forging too close an alliance with Sunni bureaucrats who’d loyally served Hussein.)
It is significant that Sanjuro is a masterless samurai for postwar Japan was no longer a master of its own destiny. The military regime had been repressive and cruel, but it was still genuinely Japanese and Japan was Japan-ruled. But who really ruled Japan after WWII? Americans occupied Japan until 1952, but even after the Occupation ended, Japan remained essentially a political and military colony of America and economically dependent on the American-controlled world order. The repressive military regime was gone, and Japanese enjoyed unprecedented freedoms, but Japan was also a Tokyo Shoeshine Boy and Geisha of America, and Japan needed to the protection of Uncle Sam pimp if it weren’t to fall prey to the Russian Bear pimp. It’s no wonder that prostitution and woman-as-sex-slave are the major motifs of Japanese culture, especially since postwar Japan wasn’t only a political prostitute of Japan but a literal one as well, what with American G.I. humping all those mamasans and making Japanese men feel insignificant and small. Thus, Sanjuro could represent the remnant of the samurai spirit in postwar Japan but without a master to serve. (If most Japanese served the old master in the past and the new master in the present, it’s as if Sanjuro served no one in the past and serves no one in the present.) And since there is no worthy master to serve — in a new order run by greed, gangsterism, corruption, and rampant opportunism — , the masterless samurai must resort to guile and trickery to overturn the rotten order(even if in contrary to the honor code of his caste); but then, YOJIMBO suggests that the Japanese social fabric is soiled on both sides, and so it stinks whichever side is on top.

At any rate, YOJIMBO was more than an allegory of modern Japan. It is also a historical critique for Kurosawa well knew of the vast distances between Japanese principles and Japanese realities across many centuries. This tension between samurai principles and samurai realities is prominent in the most famous Japanese legend of the Loyal 47 Ronin. In the end, they use guile and trickery to plan their revenge. Instead of taking revenge immediately as pure-spirited samurai should, they wait a long time for the enemy to lower its guard and only then strike at the allegedly corrupt old official. Even so, the 47 ronin, even without their master, remained faithful to their master and took revenge in his honor. In contrast, Sanjuro isn’t in any discernible way troubled by his masterlessness. He’s more like a Western-hero-with-Cossack-manners implanted in Japan than a true-spirited samurai — a ronin wolf than a samurai dog; but even as a wolf, he’s a lone wolf than a pack wolf. Also, the air of irreverence in YOJIMBO is a striking departure from the tone of Kurosawa’s earlier films. Though vulgarity, directness, wildness, and passion have been prominent features of Kurosawa films, they were counterbalanced by a sense of higher authority — social, moral, or formal — that ultimately tamed the wildness in some kind of context — the possible exception may be THE LOWER DEPTHS. For example, Mifune plays a wild charismatic gangster in DRUNKEN ANGEL, but we are made aware of the higher moral order that will outlast the likes of him. And as much as Mifune hogs the screen in parts of SEVEN SAMURAI, the most admirable character is the elder samurai who commands the tone of the film. And no matter how much Washizu the rebel-lord in THRONE OF BLOOD tempts fate, he’s devoured like a bug trapped in a spider web. Thus, in the end, irreverence bows to reverence in all of Kurosawa’s films prior to YOJIMBO. (On the other hand, goodness and reverence seem to gain meaning and power mainly through their wrestling with badness and irreverence. If everyone’s like a lamb and can easily be saved, there would be no moral/spiritual drama; Jesus would have converted the world to His vision of love in a few weeks. DRUNKEN ANGEL’s power derives from the bad man’s violent resistance to goodness. Of course, if men are so utterly rotten and beyond saving, that doesn’t allow much in the way of moral/spiritual drama either. This is why Negroes are so worthless. They are biologically so ‘evil’ and dishonest that it’s useless to try saving their souls. As difficult as it is, wolves can be tamed but certain animals can’t be. Taming dogs is easy, taming wolves is difficult, and taming hyenas is near impossible. Thus, both the taming-dogs story and the taming-hyenas story don’t lend themselves to much moral/spiritual drama; one’s too easy and one’s too impossible. But the taming-wolves story is ideal for moral/spiritual drama because of the wild/aggressive resistance to redemption that is possible. DRUNKEN ANGEL is tragic because the gangster guy, while plenty bad, isn’t all bad despite his desperate effort to convince himself that he is; there is goodness inside him, and he sometimes acts worse than he really is to suppress this self-knowledge of goodness. Some people are indeed born bad. They may not be evil, but they lack the capacity for trust, the sentiment of good-will. Some people are born with moral/spiritual surplus. They are, by nature, very nice, trusting, and wanna-like & wanna-be-liked. Such goodness can be as dangerous as badness for goodness isn’t the same thing as moral conscience, which is always a lonely individual thing. Most good people wanna be good within the social context they grow up in. So, most good people under the Taliban wanna be good Talibans, and most good liberal Americans wanna bend over for ‘gay marriage’ because society tells them it’s the ‘good thing’ to do. They just wanna be ‘nice’ and ‘good’. But some people are a mixture of good and bad, and if this dynamic is used creatively, it can lead to a truer kind of morality for there had to be an inner-struggle to arrive at a conclusion. Similarly, one really knows the meaning of health only by struggling with and overcoming illness. A person who is born good will readily accept what society says is good as the proper good. A person who is born bad will readily break rules for self-interest and egotistical reasons. But a person who is born good/bad will feel compelled to think. The bad side will challenge the good side, and the good side will challenge the bad side. Ironically, both militarist Japan and Nazi Germany — and Soviet Union — ended up so rotten because there were too many good people serving bad people in the name of serving the ‘good’. Most Japanese loyal to the Emperor and most Germans loyal to Hitler — and most Russians loyal to Stalin — were trying to be good people. But in their mindlessly earnest goodness, they were easily manipulated by bad people with ruthless power. Orwell understood this in ANIMAL FARM where the good horse unwittingly serves the bad pigs. So, the wolf-character of Mifune was central to Kurosawa’s view of morality. He was both good and bad, and in Kurosawa’s films, he served as the locus of the moral struggle. HIGH AND LOW’s original Japanese title is HEAVEN AND HELL, and it refers not only to the world of the rich and world of the poor, but the inner struggle within Kingo Gondo between angel and devil. The problem with RED BEARD is it’s filled with too many dog characters, and so, there isn’t much in the way of moral drama.) But from beginning to end, YOJIMBO’s tone is irreverent. From the very first shot, Sanjuro’s head eclipses the mountain range. It’s like he has the will and power to challenge all of Japan, to move mountains. One might say his godlikeness calls for a kind of reverence on our part, but he doesn’t play a superheroic godlike role commanding our respect. Instead, he wanders like a bum and, in town, doesn’t care about face or reputation(except that he can be even more ‘bad’ than the rest). If anything, he is embarrassed when the couple-and-kid he saves feel gratitude and show reverence toward him. There is goodness inside him, but he keeps it inside. He wants the couple and kid to run off quickly not only for their safe passage but to be rid of the evidence of his goodness. Outward goodness may be a thing of shame in a world where it pays more to be bad than good, which is at best a luxury and more often a sentimental display of weakness. He feels more comfortable playing the irreverent bad-bad guy than a noble hero deserving of universal admiration. (Being good is also problematic as a burden. If you see a homeless dog and wanna be good by taking it in, you have another dog to feed and take care of. Thus, being good is stressful, even expensive. Though most people aren’t actively evil, they wanna be generically good without being actively good. If one gets actively involved in doing good, one loses money and freedom. There is no shortage of homeless dogs and stray cats, but it’s a lot of trouble to take care of them. And so, we pretend they don’t even exist. Or we may donate to anti-cruelty society to have them deal with the problem so that we won’t have to.)
This sense of irreverence might have been something Kurosawa picked up from Ichikawa, one of the most slyly and perversely irreverent of Japanese directors, but then, big changes were afoot in Japan from all directions, and irreverence became one of the popular attitudes and mannerisms of the new Japan taking shape in the late 50s and early 60s. In a way, it was a sign of new individualism and freedom — especially among the young — , but it was also a crutch for Japanese to hide their defeats and shame, whether they be social, cultural, or political. Considering that so many Japanese made their living from prostitution(and other businesses and services connected to the oldest profession), that so many Japanese had made their living through the black markets since end of WWII, that so many members of the old elites — especially the military — had lost all their pride with defeat in WWII, that Japan came to depend so much on selling cheapie trinkets to America, and that so many social changes were so at odds with traditional behavior and expectations — and conversely that Japan failed to live up to democratic ideals in the true modern sense — , many Japanese found it convenient to put on the mask of irreverence. In one sense, it was a means of liberation, but in another way, it was an act of desperation. In STRAY DOG, a Japanese girl tries to show off how ‘modern’ and ‘liberated’ she is by putting on an American dress and dancing round and round before falling to the floor and crying in shame. Kurosawa worried that young Japanese were clutching at the materialistic cult of freedom than accepting the challenges of freedom to lead more meaningful lives. It was easier to put on make-up, put on modern dress, and put on attitudes — and pretend not to care about anything else — than accept freedom as a kind of moral responsibility. STRAY DOG was made in 1949, so imagine how things were by the late 50s and 60s, when Japan’s economic situation was much better — and with the memory of the war behind them, new generation of young people of the early 60s could indulge in new cultural fashions undreamt of by earlier generations. Since Japan’s political significance in the world had been much reduced, many Japanese compensated by feeling big through the irreverent nihilism of outrageousness, as could be seen in the films(some of them brilliant) by Seijun Suzuki. And since Japanese no longer felt a meaningful connection to many of their fading traditions, the new attitude called for brash anti-traditionalism. And yet, so much of Japan still remained hierarchical, rigid, and stifling, and therefore, popular culture also served as the fantasy of irreverence for those who had little choice in life but to study for college exams and then work like ants for corporations. (Whatever its problems, the new postwar Japan was clearly preferable to old Japan for most Japanese, even if it came at the cost of destruction and defeat in war and loss of political independence in world affairs. On the other hand, how might things have turned out for most Japanese if Japan had managed to fend off the Americans and taken control of all of Asia? We’ll never know, but it couldn’t have been very pleasant for other Asians, but then, communism did as much damage to Asia as Japanese imperialism did, but then, Chinese communists wouldn’t have come to power if Japan hadn’t destroyed the Chiang Kai-Shek’s KMT, which, prior to the Japanese invasion, had had the communists on the ropes. Though Japan’s been accused of hubris in WWII, there was also the problem of what might be called ‘humbris’. If hubris is the overblown faith in one’s own invincibility and the inevitability of victory, humbris is the overblown faith in one’s own ability to suffer and face defeat. Initially, Japanese were filled with hubris in the conviction that they were destined to rule over Asia and that even mighty US wouldn’t be able stand in their way. But as the war situation grew desperate and it began to dawn on the Japanese that the war was lost, Japanese accepted the inevitability of defeat and thought they could lose nobly and honorably, even if it meant collectively dying with the Emperor. But the horrors of war made the Japanese shit real bad. Victory in theory had seemed easy, but when possibility of victory slipped away, defeat in theory was the new cult: Japan would lose but gloriously and meaningfully, indeed even nobly and beautifully. But when bombs kept raining down and the nation began to starve, Japanese began to realize defeat in reality isn’t the noble thing it is in theory. Humbris — the hubris of noble humility in the face of defeat — was as foolish as hubris. And this is a lesson white folks need to learn. In the past, whites were filled with hubris of victory, and unlike the Japanese, they did come to dominate much of the world. For them, the theory of victory matched the reality of victory. But WWI and WWII made white folks in Europe wary about their cult of power and invincibility. And though white Americans were victorious, the rising liberal/leftist/Jewish control of media, Hollywood, and academia led to white Americans’ loss of faith in their own power. In time, white Americans came to associate whiteness with a unique kind of evil. So, the noble thing for good whites to do was to engineer their own defeat socially, politically, demographically, economically, sexually, and etc. Since white elites had been powerful and privileged for so long, they didn’t know the full extent of the suffering these changes would cause to the white community — and white liberals could ignore the horrors since the first victims would be poorer and less privileged white Americans. White liberals suffer from humbris. They think future white suffering as atonement for ‘racism’ and other evils will be ennobling, uplifting, meaningful, and beautiful. But as the father finds out in the novel DISGRACE by J.M. Coetzee — which I haven’t read but heard about — , suffering is just plain suffering. It’s ugly, brutal, and disgusting. It’s like what the character learns in Bunuel’s NAZARIN. Despite all the cult of noble suffering in Christian iconography, real suffering is just painful, pointless, and humiliating. When Soviet troops stormed into Germany and began raping and looting, it was just an ugly sight. Some might imbue it with meaning by saying Germans deserved what they got or were being a taught a rightful lesson, but to German women who were being gang-raped 24/7 weeks on end before their children — who too might be gang-raped — , it was just hell on Earth with no meaning. Defeat in theory is never the same as defeat in reality or defeat as fact. White liberals might try to imbue Jack Johnson’s defeat of Jim Jeffries in moral, historical, or whatever terms of racial atonement, but the plain fact is Jeffries was essentially man-raped by a Negro thug. Gaddafi decided to fight on even in certain defeat in the notion that his end would be heroic and noble, but in the end, he had a knife stuck up his ass, was beaten to a bloody pulp, humiliated and mocked and tortured, reduced to shrieking like a girl, and then killed by laughing thugs. His humbris at the end turned out to be as foolish as his hubris over the decades. Some affluent white liberals may think they and their children can handle the decline and downfall of their race with moral grace and fortitude, but they can thus theorize and idealize their looming defeat only because they’ve been so removed from the reality of power. It’s like the Eternals in ZARDOZ who, having lived in privileged seclusion for so long, think their downfall at the hands of the Exterminators, will be painless and beautiful. But when the violence comes, it’s horrific and the Eternals scream and run in every direction as blood splatters everywhere. A disgrace.)

Mifune in the opening tracking scene of YOJIMBO both looms large and looks small. The low-angle shot give him an air of authority, but the cramped tightness of the composition suggest a lonely figure tightly wound within himself. He’s a tough guy but also a nobody in the middle of nowhere. And the odd musical score, which is both ostentatious and off-key, both exclamatory and querulous, conveys the mood of both grand parade and grotesque parody. It sounds like military parade music composed by a drunken clown for circus animals. Sanjuro marches on as a one-man army but with no indication of where from or where to. The music has something similar to Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Rainy Day Woman #2" — what one might call ‘shaggy man songs’. It could be debated as to whether the music is good or not on its own terms; what matters is it works in terms of the movie. Pauline Kael once wrote music was the weak spot of Japanese movies, sounding like parodies of Western music, and this is true enough of RASHOMON’s hammy imitation of Ravel’s “Bolero”. But I found the music of SEVEN SAMURAI powerful and effective. At their best, Kurosawa’s films of the 50s and 60s use scores more as sound effects than music. This is true of the simple drumbeats — and something like feedback off the beats — in the title sequence of SEVEN SAMURAI. Toru Takemitsu once said that the ideal of Japanese music was to crack open the ‘universe’ in each single note whereas the Western way was to thread notes into melodies — like beads into a necklace. Thus, a Japanese musician will clack two pieces of wood together and get as much out of the single sound as possible. Or a Japanese flutist will hold a note, and it’s supposed to reveal a whole universe of mood. Maybe it’s like what the guy said in MY DINNER MY ANDRE about joining up with some Japanese Buddhist who ate rice one grain at a time.
Masaru Sato, who did the music for YOJIMBO, composed one of the more interesting soundtracks of the 60s, and it might have had an influence on Ennio Morricone, especially for some of the scenes in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. Think of the opening scene and the scene where Henry-Fonda-as-Frank warily faces off against men waiting to ambush him. The opening scene of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST uses real sounds musically than real music. And the music in the scene with Henry Fonda is spare and minimal, creaky and lurking in its apprehensive pauses between bursts of gunfire. It might have been inspired by the scene where Sanjuro first enters the town and walks down its dusty empty street. The score is obtuse, halting, out-of-balance, and nervous, as if Sanjuro is walking through a minefield. Everyone seems afraid or paranoid for some reason, but Sanjuro doesn’t know why and feels somewhat unnerved; perhaps HE is the problem, but why would the entire town hide from someone they don’t even know? He is first greeted by Hansuke who explains the situation and then is met by the ruffians working for Ushitora, the gang lord allied with the sake merchant. Though he backs away from a fight, he comes off with a good measure of what the town’s all about. Despite the superficial mystery about the town, people feel terrorized by the rule of thugs. Anyway, Morricone, who had a background in ‘modern’ or ‘avant garde’ music, opted for more unorthodox approach to music in parts of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, and its germs could be traced to YOJIMBO, though Morricone, one of the greatest music composers of film, could have developed his ideas entirely on his own. Though Kurosawa and Sato’s use of music in YOJIMBO may not have been original, its flagrant and flamboyant aggressiveness(and its proto-postmodern genre mixing) — like the bombastic use of Jazz in Godard’s BREATHLESS — probably felt fresh and bold at the time.

Just before entering the town, Sanjuro stops by a farmer’s house — which looks more like a rundown shack — for a drink of water. The farmer, a grotesque-looking stump of a man complains to his wife that she’d done nothing to stop their son from running off. The woman, working at her loom, resignedly says neither she nor he could have done anything about it given the way young people are. The father throws a hostile glance at Sanjuro and says he wishes all the dogs in town — meaning the gangsters and gamblers — would just kill one another. As far he’s concerned, Sanjuro is just one more new thug in town. The scene in significant for two reasons. The woman serves a familiar archetype in Kurosawa’s films, that of the holder of eternally cyclical truths. The image of her at the loom reminds us of the old man with the water mill in SEVEN SAMURAI and the witch with the spinning wheel in THRONE OF BLOOD. There’s a sense of the larger perspective, of ‘having seen it all’: The world is what it is and men are what they are, and there’s little that can be done about the foolishness of men, especially as each new generation is born not knowing and can only learn by getting burned itself. The wheel of history just goes round and round. Though it is human to try to break out of the cycle, we are all born, live, die, and reborn within the eternal spider-web. There’s a sense of this in SEVEN SAMURAI as well. The bandits have been vanquished, but there will be future troubles and lessons will have been forgotten, and the cycle will start all over again.
Though the son is foolish to want to prefer a short exciting life, that too is part of human nature. Kurosawa himself wanted to do something exciting in life and became a filmmaker. He idealized the simple folks — factory workers in THE MOST BEAUTIFUL for instance — , but he himself couldn’t settle for a simple life. So, even as the son may be crazy to wanna be a gambler or gangster, we understand why he wants to break out of the endless cycles of toil in which ‘good’ people are trapped in. The other significance of the scene comes from the angry father’s suggestion that it would be better if all the thugs just killed one another. It is a seed of an idea that grows inside Sanjuro’s head. What the farmer can only wish, Sanjuro can fulfill(like Merlin cleverly fulfilled Uther’s desire to hump Igraine). So unwittingly, the farmer turns out to be not only a planter of rice but a planter of the germ of an idea that brings upon the downfall of all the thugs.

Despite the anarchic swagger, improvisational spirit, and rough-hewn texture of YOJIMBO, it is a meticulously constructed movie. Partly, this may have owed to the fact of the high cost of film stock — even for a major movie studio in Japan.. The decline of Japanese cinema happened long before the rise of digital technology, and therefore, we cannot blame digitalization for the creative slide. Generally, the cause of the decline has been attributed to competition from TV, Japanese movie studios’ unwillingness to take chances beginning in the late 60s, the decline in the talent pool for any number of reasons, and, especially beginning in the late 70s, the global dominance of Hollywood blockbusters, some of which were more popular in Japan than in America. Perhaps enough good films were made in the 70s and later, but generally speaking, Japanese cinema as a whole began to tread water than making a difference as earlier generations did. In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, great Japanese films seemed to be the exceptions than the rule. To what extent the artistic decline can be attributed to the rising cost of filmmaking, it’s difficult to say. For instance, it couldn’t have been too expensive to make Ozu’s films, yet he was one of Japan’s great film artists. And people like Seijun Suzuki proved in the 60s that they could make low-budget films filled with energy and originality. The energy level and zest for filmmaking seem to have dissipated in Japanese cinema after the 60s — though we speak with limited knowledge since most Japanese films never made it over here. (Perhaps the problem was Japan itself became exhausted of new themes. How many films about samurai could be made? How many period films about the Tokugawa period? How many films about the relatively brief period of modernization? How many war movies about WWII? As America was huge, Hollywood could pick and choose stories from 50 states ranging from Hawaii to Alaska. But Japan was like a single American state despite its rich history. Also, white folks had one great advantage over the Japanese folks because the history of the white race was more varied and adventurous than that of the yellow race. So, white Americans could play ancient Greeks, ancient Romans, Germanic barbarians, French noblemen, Russian drunkards, English fairies, Spanish knights, and etc. In contrast, Japanese could only play Japanese. The other peoples they might play with a degree of credibility were Koreans, Chinese, and Mongols. But Koreans didn’t have much of a history, the only thing Mongols ever did was bash folks, and Chinese were too peculiar and weird to be played by other peoples; besides, white Americans, in their creativity, did the Chinaman better in stuff like Fu Manchu and Charlie Chaplin than the expressively limited Japanese ever managed — though some say Mizoguchi’s PRINCESS YANG KWEI-FEI is a great movie. So, Japanese were only good at playing Japanese, and the subject of Japan got exhausted in movies, at least on the popular level, i.e. while there were many things about Japan that could be made into interesting movies, the populist nature of cinema favors things of more sensational nature, and there wasn’t much that was instantly exciting about Japan except for samurai, yakuza gangsters, and WWII. And once Japanese society stabilized after WWII, especially with the fading of student protests and death of Mishima, Japan appeared to many people to be a ‘boring nation’. On the other hand, the rise and fall of Japan in the 80s and early 90s would make a great subject for a movie, but most Japanese filmmakers haven’t touched the topic. One of the great advantages America has had over Japan — and European nations — when it came to cinema is immigration. The other is the financial and creative talent of Jews. Jews were central to the creation of Hollywood, and Hollywood attracted the top talents of Europe, especially German Jews fleeing Hitler. Just think of men like Fritz Lang, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann, Michael Curtiz, and many others. Also, new waves of immigration has meant that just when one ethnic group was fading in creativity, a new one would gain the spotlight; this was especially true of Italian-American filmmakers in the 70s, with names like Coppola, Scorsese, DePalma, Cimino, etc. And there was the Greek-American Cassavetes. Anglo-American directors had been prominent in the early yrs of American cinema, but their place was later taken over by ethnic directors, especially Jews but others as well. In Japan, however, when the creative pool ran dry, there were only other Japanese who shared in the apathy, complacency, or stasis. There were signs of life among the new crop of Japanese filmmakers in the 80s, especially with the brilliant FAMILY GAME and the dark, disturbing HIMATSURI, but the momentum wasn’t sustained, and Japanese films that made a difference in world cinema were rarities.
In contrast, mainland China made a difference in the 1980s, and Hong Kong cinema of the 80s may have been the most talented and inventive at the time, all the more remarkable for low budgets and limited audience).
For the sake of argument, let us assume that rising cost of production was one of the key factors for the decline of Japanese cinema. Does it mean the shift to digital filmmaking will lead to a new renaissance in filmmaking? Actually, this is a question worth asking not only about Japan but around the world. With more people being able to make films cheaply — and with venues at all sorts of independent film festivals and internet outlets — , are we on the verge of a new creative golden age in cinema? Or, has digitalization undermined a key component of the creative process in some way? When film stock was expensive, it couldn’t be used carelessly or on a whim. Filmmakers had to prepare carefully, construct scenes in their minds and work things out before shooting. Though Kurosawa sometimes employed multiple cameras and shot more footage than most directors, he still couldn’t just shoot everything and make stuff up as he went along. Possibly, the sad decline of Terrence Malick has something to do with digitalization. His two best works were shot on film: BADLANDS and DAYS OF HEAVEN. Both were clearly well-prepared and well-thought-out. But in digitally-made NEW WORLD and TREE OF LIFE, it looks like he just shot as much as possible and then assembled bits and pieces into moving image photo albums. His supposed ‘masterpieces’ are more like masterfragments. Along with heightened spontaneity and immediacy, there’s also frivolity and triviality in all the bubbly, airy, fleeting, and flippant mix of images. Same is true of amateur photographers. Think of when we relied on film rolls. Because film wasn’t cheap to purchase and develop, one didn’t just shoot anything and everything. Even if untrained in photography, one angled and framed for the best possible shot. But with digital cameras, we can just shoot like crazy in the hope that something good will turn up. Thus, we’ve come to rely more on carefree chance than conscious preparation. And this shows in TREE OF LIFE, which looks like a movie made by random than conscious inspiration. In a way, film stock was like toilet tissue behind the Iron Curtain. In the Soviet Union, one was careful about wiping one’s ass properly because toilet tissues weren’t always easy to come by. One might have to wait in line for hours to buy toilet paper(that felt like sand paper). So, one made sure to learn the proper art of ass-wipery because, otherwise, the toilet paper would run out too fast. Film stock was like that. It was expensive, which is why even big studios were mindful about directors shooting too much footage. All that stuff had to be paid for, developed, and thrown away at huge loss if not used. In a way, all of art is like toilet tissue in this sense: life is full of shit, and art is about wiping the truth of the shittiness of life on a variety of mediums. In cinema, celluloid film was the toilet tissue that recorded the shitty truth of life. Cinema was shit wiped 24 hours a day. With the coming of digitalization, it was like everyone now had an endless supply of toilet tissues to wipe shit with. In a way, it meant they could wipe their asses more cleanly, but in another way, it made them messier and less disciplined wipers since they knew they always had more tissues for wiping. And NEW WORLD and TREE OF LIFE are amongst the most sloppily wiped shits I’ve ever seen. At this point, Malick needs to stop decorating trees(of life or whatever else) with his creative toilet tissues like some drunken frat boy; he needs to calm down, take a measure of himself, and relearn the art of creative ass-wiping he exhibited so finely in BADLANDS and DAYS OF HEAVEN. Abbas Kiarostami is another filmmaker who seems to have lost the art of proper ass-wipery once he got his hands on the digi-cam. Suddenly filled with the sense of freedom to wipe the shit of reality anyway he chose and never having to worry again about the supply of film stock toilet paper, his films have gotten sloppier and more pointless, kinda like ‘home-made videos’ of the kind one finds on Youtube in endless supply.
Now, the problem isn’t the greater supply of toilet tissue per se. I mean think of all the filmmakers who couldn’t make the films for lack of material. Think of all the films that couldn’t be improved because independent filmmakers could only do so many retakes. But, some people mistake more of something as ‘more better’. In truth, there is no substitute for thinking something out and preparing properly. There are, of course, spontaneous moments of inspiration, but it usually happens inside the head(and usually not while the filmmaker is endlessly shooting stuff on the spot), and it takes real effort to translate inspiration into actualization, which is why there’s a saying that art is 1% inspiration and 99% hard work. The problem with a movie like TREE OF LIFE is that Malick seems to think he’s magically transmitting whatever inspirations buzzing inside his head straight to the screen. Thus, it feels as if there was no filmmaking process between the inspiration(on the part of Malick) and the perception(on the part of the audience). TREE OF LIFE feels as though Malick’s thoughts and dreams have been directly passed onto the screen. Now, of course, I’m sure a great deal of effort went into making the film. TREE OF LIFE certainly didn’t make itself while Malick lay in bed, thinking of his childhood, and having some mind-reading device to record his thoughts. But, I wonder about the creative stratagem in the age of digitalization. Did Malick ever try to arrange, pull together, and make sense of all the images, sound, and ideas in his head or did he think he could just shoot as much as possible and paste them together as a free-flowing family album? At least real albums have a spine to hold the pages together; there is no center to Malick’s film or videum. It’s as if the director in the opening scene of 8 ½ just flew off and his head got stuck between two ass-cheeks of clouds. Instead of artfully wiping the shit of life, Malick is wallowing in his shit. (And I didn’t much care for Sokurov’s RUSSIAN ARK either. Though made in a different style than TREE OF LIFE, it’s essentially a vanity project in love with what the new technology can do than a product of real vision or thought. Okay, so the continuity is maintained from beginning to end. Who cares? If someone doesn’t blink for a full hour, will he see something of greater value than people who do blink?)

Despite the youthful and rollicking feel of YOJIMBO, Kurosawa was essentially an old-school director working in the vein of Eisenstein, Ford, Hitchcock, Wyler, Lang, Huston, etc. This put him at odds with many of the new talents and voices of the early 60s who took their cue from the French New Wave, Jazz, and rising tide of youth culture; and given that Japanese cinema in the 1960s not only competed with the world but was sometimes ahead of the curve, Kurosawa found himself in a precarious position. He had to do something new to hold his position as one of the leading directors at home and abroad. Like Hitchcock with PSYCHO, Kurosawa did something new by relying on the old. After all, as bold and different as PSYCHO was, it was still the work of a control-freak craftsman than a maverick-experimenter. Though both Hitchcock and Kurosawa had done their share to expand the language of cinema, they stuck to the conviction that movies must have shape, order, and meaning. They didn’t play creative dice. Sanjuro tosses a stick into the air to randomly decide which way to go, but upon arriving at a the town, he’s all about plans and strategy.
Given Kurosawa’s old ways(especially his return to classicism with RED BEARD in the mid-60s just when the culture was entering a new phase of ‘radicalism’), he lost his relevance as a cutting-edge filmmaker, but looking back on the decade, Kurosawa’s YOJIMBO and HIGH AND LOW(and even SANJURO and RED BEARD) now seem worthier than many of the ‘avant garde’ and ‘new wave’ films so fashionable at the time. Nagisa Oshima was perhaps the most famous Japanese director of the sixties, but most of his films from the period aren’t now easy to sit through given their topicality and amateurishness(which may have seemed fresh then but now looks sloppy). And though David Lean was mocked by so many critics in the Sixties, the critical opinion eventually came around to recognizing LAWRENCE OF ARABIA as a classic, and I think DOCTOR ZHIVAGO is a magnificent work of epic romance.

Kurosawa, like Hitchcock, Ford, and Lang, was a map-centered artist. He liked to plot things out, measure the shape and arc of things, connect one location to another to create meaning. Hitchcock’s map-centrism was perhaps most evident in REAR WINDOW where the apartment windows seen from across James Stewart character’s apartment form a kind of map of human condition/variety/experience. We see various types of people, from the newly wed, the creative, the lonely, the young, the old, and etc.(especially as they’re related to sexuality). Peeking on his neighbors from his wheelchair, the James Stewart character forms a larger view or map of human life. Even though the neighbors live their own lives and rarely communicate with each other, we find ourselves connecting certain thematic dots, finding patterns of social behavior, and discerning meanings behind the facade of normality. We notice the sexual passion of the newly weds in stark contrast to the tired couple of which the man may have killed the wife. Indeed, the curtains are drawn in their two apartments where the most love and the most hate are taking place, as if there’s a sinful connection between making life and taking life. (REAR WINDOW is also interesting as a kind of role reversal between movie stars and movie audience. Generally, ordinary people watch glamorous movie stars in the magic world of movies, but in REAR WINDOW, two glamourous movie stars — Stewart and Grace Kelly — are in a cramped room, and they look at ordinary people in their apartments. It’s like the movie stars are looking at the movie audience in their humdrum lives. There’s also the suggestion of Hitchcock looking at us from behind, from the rear. And the moment when the killer looks across the yard and notices he’s being watched by Stewart has an eerie feeling because of the element of voyeurism in cinema: the audience watch in the safety of their knowledge of not being noticed, but what if characters on screen suddenly do notice that they are being watched? What is they come after us like the Raymond Burr character goes after Stewart? In that moment, we feel not only has Stewart has been caught but that WE have been caught. Incidentally, REAR WINDOW may serve as the basis for future narrative technology. Notice how Grace Kelly’s character goes across the courtyard and enters the apartment of the murderer. It’s almost as if she’s participating in an interactive movie; instead of just looking though Stewart’s window into the murder’s window, she goes from window to window; she participates to change the outcome.) And consider the title of one of Hitchcock’s most famous movies: NORTH BY NORTHWEST. Though the story begins in NY, winds across the vast expanse of America, and ends up in South Dakota, Hitchcock keeps us keenly aware of the change from place to place, as he did in LADY VANISHES. And in movies like STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and THE WRONG MAN, the question of ‘who was where and when?’ are crucial. Therefore, Hitchcock had to maintain a map-maker’s meticulous sense of place, angle, and direction. Even in a movie like LIFEBOAT where the characters adrift at sea have no idea where they’re at and going, there’s a furtive sense that it is indeed headed somewhere and not by accident. Ironically, though the German guy is the villain, he almost serves as Hitchcock’s surrogate as the master-plotter who knows what others don’t know. In a way, in all of Hitchcock’s films, there’s a cat-and-mouse sense that Hitchcock really identifies with the villains whose brilliantly wicked plots drive the good-looking good guys up the wall. Hitchcock was fat and unattractive and was envious of good-looking men. Though his movies mostly have happy endings, he must have had fun driving good-looking good guys as crazy as possible before they finally got the girl. There was something of Hitchcock in Bob-Hoskins-in-FELICIA’S-JOURNEY(by Atom Egoyan).

Kurosawa was also a mapmaker and wasn’t keen on leaving things to chance. And this side of Kurosawa is reflected in many of his films. In SEVEN SAMURAI, the elder samurai surveys the areas around the farm and makes a detailed map to prepare for the battle as carefully as possible. And he keeps tabs — by crossing out circles — on how many bandits have been killed. Even though or especially because warfare is disorderly and chaotic, the experienced elder samurai tries to have things under control as possible. Thus, SEVEN SAMURAI isn’t only exciting as an action film but interesting as a thoughtful narrative of strategy. So, even though it has some of the wildest and most furious scenes of violence on film, we are also constantly reminded of where and when the action is happening. We sense men are not just fighting haphazardly but fighting to protect key areas to maintain the larger defense network and sustain the overall stratagem. The biggest threat to the farmer’s village happens when Mifune’s character goes off on his own and undermines the elder samurai’s plans.
Because of the sense of mapped order, few things are as frightening in Kurosawa’s films as the sense of the order coming apart at the seams. The rebel lord in THRONE OF BLOOD thinks he understands the magic map of the forest: that spiritually and physically it’s on his side. So, when he sees the forest moving toward the forest, he flips out. In KAGEMUSHA, the dying lord told his men to prioritize the defense of their territory. The Takeda clan warrior may move and fight like the wind and fire, but they must always guard the mountain-like center of the realm. The son, on the other hand, decides to move the entire forces of the Takeda clan and hurl them at the enemy, and thus the map of the Takeda clan is lost forever. Maybe you can move a forest, but you can’t move a mountain. In RAN, the aging lord Hidetora has a formed of map of lasting peace in his mind. If he hands over the three castles and their domains to his three sons, he figures all will be well and he could retire and take it easy in his final years. But he has misread the map of the human heart, and the order he creates begins to fall apart almost from the beginning.
But there are other ways to misread the map. The kidnapper in HIGH AND LOW creates his own mental map of Japan inhabited by rich people up high and inhabited by poor people down low. (And later, the authorities plot their own maps to find the killer.) He figures he’ll use criminality to move back and forth freely between all these realms, but not only does his plot fail in the end but he comes to the realization that his map had been a simple-minded fraud. Facing Kingo Gondo(Mifune) at the end, the kidnapper sees not a greedy pig but a man who’d worked hard all his life to build up a business but then gave it all up to save a child and is now working hard to start all over. The kidnapper at least wanted a justification for what he did, but it’s not to be found in the facial map of Gondo.
Sense of location and one’s place in the world meant a lot to Kurosawa, and he gravitated toward those themes. Perhaps being both a proud Japanese — member of an ancient race of a small island nation(small relative to bigger fish like China, Russia, and the United States) — and a curious internationalist(at least in the cultural sense) made Kurosawa long for both a strong sense of home and a powerful sense of adventure. Even within Japan itself, Kurosawa was both disturbed and thrilled by the sense of violent change. The world of RASHOMON is threatening, with temples in ruins and people’s lives ravaged by wars & pestilence, but in the throes of uncertainty, there is a chance of a new beginning, new hope. And surely Japanese audience in the postwar period understood the allusions. Though set in an older Japan, they knew RASHOMON was relevant to their own times. The rebel lord in THRONE OF BLOOD is torn between a secure sense of place — as a much-appreciated vassal of his lord — and burning sense of ambition — to kill his lord become the new ruler of the clan. In SEVEN SAMURAI, we see value in both the fixed settlement of the farmers and the free-roaming lives of the masterless samurai. Ronin are relatively free to go wherever they choose, but they have no real home. The farmers do have a place to call home, but they’re bound to it, sometimes like prisoners. The hero of DERSU UZALA is something like a mountain man of the Siberian tundra. Like animals all around him, he had a keen sense of territoriality. The tundra and forests are his home. But he has no specific place to call home. ‘Home’ is wherever he happens to be in the tundra, and when he’s finally given a home-home in the domicile of the Russian explorer, he feels cramped and asks to return to the wild though it pretty much means certain death with his failing eye-sight and health — but ironically, what kills him is rifle given to him as a parting gift by his Russian friend; some thief murders him to steal the rifle. Kurosawa would have understood such characters because he was both an intensely Japanese artist and a consciously international one(sometimes using Japanisms a bit too brashly and showily to win acclaim around the world).
In essence, Kurosawa was an adventurer than an anarchist. Though he ventured into new creative territories, his way was to set down markers, draw things on a map(and refer to the maps of earlier artists), and be conscious of where he came from, where he was at, and where he might go. In contrast, the most anarchic directors of the 60s went off to new places without fear of getting lost — and some even to get lost. Some of the more radical among them believed the entire history of cinema and its traditions should be abandoned and a whole new cinema built from a kind of Year Zero scratch. Godard worked in such vein in his utterly demented WEEKEND(aka WEEK-END), a kind of avant-garde training film for the Khmer Rouge. Kurosawa, like Hitchcock and Ingmar Bergman, was temperamentally and creatively unsuited for that kind of approach — and when Bergman went in that direction with films like PASSION OF ANNA and FACE TO FACE, the results were baffling to put in mildly. Kurosawa, though not as big a control freak as David Lean, was still closer to the British master than to the ‘new waves’ of filmmakers cropping up all over the world since the early 60s.

Kurosawa’s mappityness is evident even in a movie as topsy-turvy and rough-and-tumble like YOJIMBO. Consider how Sanjuro initially carefully walks down the street to get a stock of the place and then gains even better perspectives from two other positions: through the slats of Gonji’s restaurant and from the elevated platform of a wooden bell tower. When Sanjuro first walks into Gonji’s place, all the shutters are closed in the dark room. It looks and feels more like a hideout than an eatery or tavern. But it’s something of a relief or sanctuary for Sanjuro(and, by extension, us) because til then, we’ve only seen Sanjuro along desolate roads, under the harshness of the sun and against chilly winds, by a farm house with poor angry people, in a town street deserted yet rife with tension, threatened by ruffian louts, and with the slippery Hansuke. Only when Sanjuro enters the dark space of Gonji is there finally a sense of peace and truth; ironically, this haven of peace and truth will serve as Sanjuro’s headquarter for hatching a perverse conspiracy. Gonji, a wizened and bitter character, isn’t pleasant to the eyes or ears, but we sense immediately that he’s a decent sort who’s righteously outraged by the state of affairs. It’s as though the world under the sun is so corrupt and wicked that goodness is only to be found in a dark recess, which is ironic in a culture where the sun has long been the sacred symbol of divine authority. It’s as if even the sun that illumines Japan everyday overlooks the evil and corruption.
Yet, Gonji cannot shut out the world. He can block out the sight of the town with closed shutters but not the sound. We hear the coffin-maker at work hammering away, and it drives Gonji crazy. Then we hear the drumbeats of the silk merchant at prayer, and Gonji tells Sanjuro that the man prays everyday for the spirits to favor him in the war against the sake merchant. Kurosawa’s found clever ways to use sound in YOJIMBO. As Morricone would do later with ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, he used all sorts of natural/real sounds almost musically, and through them we get a keener sense of the town. Not only is the town filling up with dead bodies — profitable to a coffin maker, the only small-businessman making any real money — , even spirituality has become a superstition for the powerful. The town street is often deserted and quiet, but with one’s ear pressed to the town’s heart like a stethoscope — and Sanjuro is sort of like a doctor performing radical surgery(and Mifune would play a real doctor in RED BEARD, as he did earlier in QUIET DUEL) — , the sound of poisoned blood pumping through the arteries can be heard. It’s a place where sounds generally exist in two forms: silence or violence, with little in between. When people communicate, they talk gruffly or angrily, often sounding more like animals than humans. It’s a town where most of the men try to come across as alphas when most of them are betas. In the first near-battle instigated by Sanjuro, the men of both sides are scared as hell but make a lot of exaggerated noises from a distance while swinging their swords in the air, only gradually inching toward one another with frightened reluctance. Though screaming with scowling faces, their tough-man act is a desperate attempt to suppress their own fears. Though armed as samurai, most of them seem to be low-life bandits playacting as warriors. While this silliness rages on, Sanjuro sits atop the bell tower and laughs at the spectacle. He’s like the kids watching scorpions and ants in the opening scene of THE WILD BUNCH. To Sanjuro, the thugs below are not even human. They are scum and all the better if they destroy one another. Earlier, by having easily killed three of Ushitora’s men, he proved who’s the real alpha. Japan is an odd society for, despite its long history of martial sense of hierarchy, it’s a society made up mostly of betas. If American society is maybe 40% alpha and 60% beta, Japan is like 5% alpha and 95% beta in terms of cultural(and perhaps even natural)personality. In America, there are some guys who like to stand tall and some guys who wanna toady along. But Japan is made up mostly of men who wanna be toadies. In America, every alpha is well-matched numerically with every beta. So, if one guy wants to be toady, he can easily find another guy who wants to be tallie. And if a guy wants to be a tallie, he can easily find a toady. But in Japan, most men are toadies, and there is a serious shortage of tallies. Thus, Japan is a nation where toadies are toadies to other toadies. Instead of tallie and toady, you have big toady and small toady. Sanjuro and Unosuke(Nakadai as the man with the gun)are the only real alpha tallies in YOJIMBO. Everyone else, even the gang bosses and merchants, are natural toadies. They want power and act big, but they essentially lack skills to be real leaders of men. They are leaders only because most other men are bigger toadies than they are. Incidentally, other than Sanjuro and Unosuke, Seibei’s wife is the only one who might qualify as an alpha, but she is one unpleasant character.

Paradoxically, Japanese ‘toughness’ could be more extreme and brutal than toughness of other cultures because there was always something fake about it. When a genuine alpha feels the power, he really takes his power for granted. He feels confident and secure in the knowledge that people look up to him, respect him, fear him, and etc. And so, he doesn’t have to try too hard to be badass. There was an easiness about John Wayne’s characters because they were big and tough and knew very well that few would dare to mess with them. In America, there were plenty of alpha tallies to gain power and feel secure about themselves — like Gregory Peck in THE BIG COUNTRY, Heston in THE PLANET OF THE APES, and Alan Ladd in SHANE. But Japan has been a nation of toadies, and it just so happens that toadies tend not to be confident even when they have the power. They feel small and insecure, and so they must exaggerate their ‘badness’ to impress others. Thus, a toady can be a worse bully than a tallie could be. This dynamic is evident in Takeshi Kitano’s KIDS RETURN where some guys act like servile toadies to one bunch of guys while acting big and tough to toadies toadier than themselves.

In YOJIMBO, Sanjuro feels secure in his power and so takes it easy most of the time. But the toady beta ruffians put on tough guy acts because, deep down inside, they know they’re a bunch of paper tigers. For this reason, Asian societies have been more intensely ‘male-dominated’ than Western ones. Western man, feeling more secure in his manhood, has felt less of a need to act so big and tough all the time. (But in having let down his guard and having embraced the cult of ‘confident male taking things in stride’, the white male has allowed Jews to lop off his balls, radical feminists to cut off his dick, gays to bugger his behind, and Negroes to kick his ass. A man shouldn’t be overly macho, but there are times when overt manhood is necessary. It’s like John Wayne takes it easy and kids around most times, but when he has to fight he gets real angry and riled up. There’s a time to kid, there’s a time to kill. White males have been reduced to white boys who think they should go on kidding even when the survival of their race is on the line. That isn’t male confidence and esteem but male cowardice and stupidity hiding behind ‘coolness’. But Jews have brainwashed white males into believing that any expression of racial anxiety, anger, and agenda is a sign of their male insecurity. So, if a white guy loses his girl to a Negro, he’s supposedly a real man if he congratulates the Negro and takes it in stride but a ‘threatened’ wimp if he’s angry and wants to teach the Negro and the mudshark a lesson. The unfazed white liberal male who takes it in stride is supposedly showing that he doesn’t feel threatened whereas the white rightist male who’s enraged is presumably showing that he’s a frustrated dork. This is the sort of mind-set that Lawrence O’Donnell plays on. Since he’s approving of black guys taking white women, it supposedly means his male pride is solidly secure and not ‘threatened’ by anything. But, this is bogus. White liberal males who pretend not to be perturbed by losing white women to Negroes are only submitting to the racial superiority of the Negroes. They are racial toadies who pretend to stand tall in their defeat; it’s like a beaten boxer saying he’s proud of having been beaten. Clever Jews have reversed our values so that a white guy who gets angry and wants to fight for his race is a ‘insecure coward’ but a white guy who willingly submits to Jews, blacks, and gays is supposed to be a man of confidence. And there is no bigger posterboy of this than Billy Boy Clinton. After all, he has a confident style and is always full of smiles when he celebrates America becoming a white minority nation. Since he’s stands tall, proud, and happy at such a prospect, we are supposed to think: submitting to Negroes, Jews, illegal aliens, and gays = proud and confident white male. But what kind of cockamamie BS is this? Imagine some Jewish guy in Israel looking proudly to the future when Jews will be minorities living under Palestinian majority rule. Even if he celebrates the future with a smile and manly talk, he’d still be an idiot. Jews are not idiots, and so they don’t think and act like that; instead, they made white males think and feel like that. And the dumb white race has become just that. Their minds are putties in the hands of Jews. If a Jew tells white males that there’s glory only in accepting defeat with big dumb smiles on their faces, you bet enough white liberal males and even lots of white conservative males — just look at the likes of Bush, McCain, and Romney — who will swallow it hook, line, and sinker.) But Eastern man, having to live as toadies for most of their lives, needed to feel tough and manly by treating their women in more oppressive ways. And we can see this in the treatment of animals as well. Why are Chinese and Koreans so barbaric to dogs and cats? It’s partly because most of the men have been raised to be toadies and feel small about themselves. And so, the only way for them to feel big is to kick dogs, boil cats, and torture animals. Thus, Asian ‘toughness’ is often the fake toughness of toady bullies. Since they cower so shamelessly before the powers-that-be, they seek psychological compensation by towering over women, children, and dogs & cats. By some miracle, the Japanese aren’t into dog-and-cat-eating, but on the other hand, the Japanese haven’t been known for their humane treatment of animals either. Just look what they do to dolphins and whales. But before we get too self-righteous, why do we kill and eat hogs? Hogs are like small whales with four legs, and whales are like huge legless pigs that swim in the ocean. If it’s wrong to kill whales, why is it okay to kill pigs? Some will say pork tastes good, but plenty of Japanese say whale tastes good too. That is no excuse for killing whales or pigs. Wrong is wrong. Isn’t it about time to end the hogocaust or the shoahog? We need a Swine-dler’s List.

Things may be screwy in the East, but of late, it may be even more screwy in the West. The problem is mainly due to the Jew. Though Jews are aggressive and feisty, they don’t fit the bill as the traditional tallie alpha. Straight and direct commanding-ness is not what the Jew’s been about. The Jew crouches low and often seems cowardly and slavish, but he’s recoiling like a snake about to strike. In the East, men were taught to bow and bend low, to not even entertain the notion of challenging the power of the superior. Bow-before-the-master became the way of the East Asian. The Jew knelt down before God, but since God was the supreme authority, Jews became less servile to other men, especially goyim. And even in their servility toward God, Jews learned not only humility but hubris. For God doesn’t really exist and something that doesn’t exist has nothing to say. So, in order for God to tell Jews what to do, Jews had to put words in God’s mouth. So, even as Jews worshiped God and bowed down before Him, they were using Him as their sockpuppet, even if subconsciously. Jews were putting their own words, ideas, and agendas into the mouth of the greatest power in the universe. So, in a way, the worship of God amongst Jews was like worship of their own big massive hook-nosed egos. This became even truer once the Jews separated their God from nature and cuffed him to morality. Under pagan systems, the gods showed their power through natural forces: If there was flood, fire, drought, or some such horribleness, it meant the gods acted, and there was nothing man could do about it. Since nature was beyond the control of man, pagan gods were also beyond the control of man, who could only supplicate the gods. The Jewish God also had great control over natural forces in the early part of the Bible. He sent floods, fire, and other such stuff on mankind. But as the story progressed, God became more and more divorced from the ways of nature. Thus, if bad stuff happened, it may not have been the work of God. In the case of Noah’s story, God clearly sent the flood. And in the Moses story, God sent locusts and other stuff upon the Egyptians. But in the later stories, God became less involved in natural affairs and became more of conceptual presence. Since concepts exist and take shape in man’s minds, the Jewish God thus became more subject to human will, whim, and intellectualization. Also, the Jews made God into a moral God, and as such, God became less and less free to do as He chose. He may be powerful and all, but if He’s supposed to be ‘good’, He couldn’t be pushing the Jews around like Aztec gods pushed around the indigenous folks of the Americas. Thus, the astounding thing about Jewish spirituality is Jews not only created the most powerful God that was ever imagined by man, but they managed to tame this most powerful God according to the needs of Jews. (In this sense, the story of Abraham and Isaac is a very devious one. On the surface, it seems to be about Abraham humbly doing as God orders him. God told him to slay Isaac, and so he prepared to slay Isaac. Then God told him to stop, and so Abraham didn’t kill the kid. All-powerful God and ever obedient Abraham, right? Not so fast. Though it seems as though Abraham is being tested by God, it’s really God who is being tested by Jews. After all, if God orders Abraham to kill Isaac, He will be a powerful God but also a wicked god no better than pagan gods. Therefore, if God is to be a good God and work out a covenant or contract with the Jews, He has to go easy on them. Thus, Jews gained over God even though it seemed as though God asserted His authority over the Jews. Jews played the same game with Wasps. Jews told Wasp elites in the 50s, “We fear you, we admire you, and we respect you, but if you want us to really love you, you will be nicer to us and accede to all our profoundly humble demands.” Even today, Wasps act like they got the power when it’s Jews who now have all the power.) Then, it’s no wonder that Jews tamed the once mighty American wasps. A people who can tame God can surely find a way to tame dimwit white folks. Jews understood that American Wasps were very powerful and great. But they also understood the moral vanity of the American Wasps, i.e. they wanted not only to be powerful but good. So, Jews manipulated Wasp morality to restrain Wasp power, just as Jews appealed to spiritual morality to restrain God. If God is indeed good, He can’t be doing horrible stuff to Jews. And if Wasps are really good, they must apologize and make amends for what they done to the Negroes, and they must make America as welcome as possible to ‘saintly’ Jews. And dimwit Wasps fell for this bullshit.

Anyway, even though there are plenty of white alphas in America, their alpha-dom is, in a way, more pathetic than the toady beta-dom of the Japanese. It’s one thing to be a beta-boy in a beta-land, but it’s weird that so many alpha white males exhibit their alpha-ness in utter slavishness to Jews — indeed not only to Jews but to Negroes, gays, illegal aliens, and feminists whose moral statuses have been elevated by Jews in order to pussify white male alphadom as much as possible. In YOJIMBO, Hansuke the constable may be a pathetic figure, but he is only being what he was born to be. A toady. And Japan is full of such toadies. Of course, it’s not like all Japanese are toadies at all times; instead, there are gradations of toadiness, with everyone bowing down to one bunch of people while, at the same time, expecting others to bow down to him. This is evident in Takeshi Kitano’s film KIDS RETURN where students who are haplessly pushed around then go around looking for others to haplessly push around. (But then, there are all-around toadies like the kid who write love letters to the cafĂ© hostess, later finds works as a cabbie, and then finally commits suicide.) And in a way, toadyism is useful to Japan because Japanese forms of communication tend to be limited in expressiveness and range. Though Japanese can be spoken in a refined manner, it’s not a very flexible and expansive language. It can be brittle, fragile, and fleeting, but it has never been used in the way Shakespeare and Tommy(the Joe Pesci character in GOODFELLAS) used English. It’s hard to imagine a Japanese Hamlet. Indeed, Kurosawa’s adaptations of Shakespeare — THRONE OF BLOOD and RAN — pretty much expunged the language and focused more on the elements of image, sound, and style. They are like Noh made into visual operas. And Ozu’s characters communicate mainly through greetings, cliches, and manners than through individual thoughts or reflection. Thus, Japanese language came to serve as walls/screens than bridges and roads. Since Japanese never developed an easy way of communication and self-expression, language came to be used mainly as orders, commandments, formalities, hints, shields, and such. A Japanese lord speaking to an inferior sounded like a master giving orders to a dog: “Sitto, roru oba, goh fetchi boru.” And the inferior would not only be bowing down before his master but have his hands pressed to the ground as if he’s really a four-legged creature. When the hierarchy was clear-cut, communication was simpler because the superior would give orders while the inferior would repeat, “Hai... hai ... hai” meaning “yes”. But communication was difficult when the hierarchy wasn’t clear-cut. In such cases, there could be utter silence as no one was certain where he or she stood within the setting and was afraid to say the wrong thing that might seen out-of-line. Or, at the other extreme, it could lead to a barbarous shouting and pushing match, more like dogs barking at one another so as to overcome the frustration of communication. Since Japanese were used to giving orders or taking orders, when a bunch of non-intimate Japanese were on ‘equal terms’ and weren’t sure who should be the superior, there could either total silence or lots of huffing-and-puffing to establish some sort of hierarchy. Of course, such people exist in the English-speaking world too, but English, being a very expressive, expansive, and flexible language, allows strangers to feel out one another with a greater range of emotions. Even John Wayne, in many of his movies, usually doesn’t shout or talk too loud. Instead, he smiles and uses his words to tease out the full extent of the situation he finds himself in. He’s not easily outraged by other men as he patiently sizes their worth and abilities. So, tough and rough as he could be, Wayne’s characters were rarely gruff. And even a lowlife ruffian like Lee Marvin’s character in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE relies on a more creative use of language than many of the characters in samurai movies. And consider HELL IN THE PACIFIC with Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune. It is Marvin who first breaks the ice and tries to get the sense of the other guy through verbal communication even though neither understands the other’s language.

Anyway, because of the individualist-expressiveness of the English language, white alphas of the English-speaking world wanna think of themselves as being their own men, with their own sense of independence, authority, and power. White Americans, in terms of style, don’t make good dogs. When Japan lost WWII and had to be servile to the Americans, it only seemed natural that most Japanese would suck up to Americans. Japanese culture had been mostly about serving and bowing down. The people had bowed down to the military officials, military officials had bowed down to higher military officials, higher military officials had deferred to the Emperor, the Emperor had bowed down to the divine destiny of Japan as concocted by the military regime, and etc. So, when Americans beat Japan and served as the new shogun caste, the Japanese all bowed down before General Douglas MacArthur.
Americans don’t like to bow down to anyone, nor do they much respect people who bow down to them. (White Americans might have respected Chinese-Americans and Japanese-Americans more in the late 19th century and early 20th century if they weren’t such slavish ‘inscrutable’ dorks; and today, many whites secretly resent Asian-American success because the American Way says people who act like winners should win. To most Americans, Asian-Americans act took dorky to have the winner style, and so, it feels wrong that Asian-Americans are so prominent in elite colleges. Jews in the 50s and 60s at least had chutzpah. And Negroes had soul during the Civil Rights Movement. But what merits the rise of Asian-Americans? One might say they study diligently, but that isn’t good enough for most Americans. Americans prefer the winning style that is showy, visible, and dramatic.) Indeed, this was one reason why whites began to feel bad about making Negroes do all that ho-de-do stuff. It just isn’t American to make people bow down to others and shuffle like they be dogs or something. That said, it seems less strange when certain peoples play servile roles. East Asians and Mexicans — due to their Asiatic blood that came across the Bering Strait — seem somewhat natural in their humble slavishness. Asians seem to fit the stereotype as ‘nerds’ and ‘geeks’, an image promoted even by liberal Jews and whites who run the media. And no one seems to mind that so many Mexicans spend their lives saying, “Si, senor” and picking tomato or lettuce their entire lives. It’s like they were born to do such stuff and aren’t good for much else. Indeed, white liberals will say in defense of illegal immigration: “Without Mexican illegals, who’ll pick the lettuce?” It’s kinda like white Southerners in the 19th century saying, “We gotta have the Negroes working on our farms cuz who’ll pick the cotton?”
In contrast, when we think of white Americans, we think of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Elvis Presley, and great athletes(despite the fact that Negroes came to eclipse whites in many professional sports). And there was a time when white American power and white American style went together. As such, even Negroes respected and feared white America. And most white women were happy to respect, admire, marry, and have kids with white American men. And Jews knew they better not mess with white America, at least not in a directly confrontational way. But Jews began to see the divisions in the white world and figured out a way to use the animosities to their advantage. A whole bunch of Jews valued WWI not only as a great way to maximize financial profits but to have white goy fight white goy. In Russia, Jewish communists saw the Great War as a great opportunity to bring about a new order. And in postwar Weimar Germany, Jews had their fill, becoming fabulously rich and powerful, even as most Germans suffered terribly due to economic conditions(and today, Jews got massive bailouts from Bush II and Obama while rest of America becomes poorer; but since Jews own the media, there is no mainstream venue for speaking truth to Jewish power). But then, the tide began to turn against the Jew with the rise of Stalin and Hitler. Though Stalin wasn’t any more ‘antisemitic’ than ‘anti-everyone-else’ — he killed many more Polish communists than Jewish communists, and if anything, Jews, by and large, didn’t fare so badly under Stalin, especially compared to Latvians and Ukrainians, whose victimizations were carried out by Jews working for Stalin — , he did grow suspicious of Jewish communists and took action to remove key Jews from seats of power. But a much bigger danger was the rise of Hitler, all the more so since he didn’t just build a new Germany but threatened to unify all of Europe under a new ideology that opposed all Jews. So, Jews were shitting when Hitler came to power, and I’ll bet many Jews were wishing that Hitler and Stalin would get into a fight and weaken one another. Though it’s been said that Neville Chamberlain acted like an appeasing coward, I’ll bet a whole bunch of Jews egged him on to appease Hitler in order to embolden Hitler to keep grabbing lands to the East, so that it will provoke a war with the USSR. In this sense, Chamberlain’s so-called ‘appeasement’ wasn’t opposed by many Jews(especially financial Jews always looking to cash in on another war where mostly goyim die) because Jews thought appeasing Hitler would lead to a confrontation between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But Stalin cut a deal with Hitler and made a peace pact, and now the Jews were shitting mighty heavily. Instead of Stalin and Hitler weakening one another like KING KONG VS GODZILLA, Stalin joined Hitler in grabbing Poland, and Stalin promised Hitler the raw materials necessary for the German domination of rest of Western Europe. And had Hitler kept up his end of the bargain with Stalin, Jewish power would have been finished not only in Western Europe but in Eastern Europe, what with Stalin figuring that it’d be advantageous for the USSR to deal with its Jewish problem as well. After all, if Germany could rise to such heights by putting Jews in their place, why wouldn’t it work for Russians? Once Germany took France, Jews were shitting desperately. They only had UK and US left, but neither nation, back then anyway, was as decisively controlled by Jews as both are now today. Jews has to grovel and cajole the elites of UK and US to do something about the evil Nazis, but UK had no means on its own to really take on Germany, let alone defeat it. And even as FDR loathed the Nazis, he understood that most Americans didn’t want to enter another war, especially with a nation that hadn’t attacked America, which also had a huge German-American population. And even as the world feared Nazi Germany, there was also much admiration for its achievements, and in nations occupied by Germans, there generally wasn’t much resistance — the exception being Poland, but then it largely owed to Poles being treated especially harshly by Germans — ,and there was even considerable collaboration and even support from the local population, not least because they approved of what the Germans were doing to the Jews who’ve come to be seen as hideous, parasitic, greedy, and subversive. And besides, Germany didn’t declare war on France; it was the other way around. Since France declared war on Germany(while not declaring on the USSR that also invaded Poland), Germany had the right to attack and invade France, and Germans brought the war to an end relatively quickly. And given that French Jews had played a significant role in pressuring France to declare war on Germany — many for Jewish interests — and since the declaration of war only led to French defeat and humiliation, naturally many Frenchmen were angry with Jews and willing to work with Germans to get rid of them. None of this is to justify what the Nazis did to the Jews, which was extreme and indeed evil, but the fact is Jews sometimes dug their own graves by playing with fire in a dangerous world.
Besides, why should we care so much about Jews when Jews don’t give a shit about anyone else? Jewish-instigated Iraq War — aka War for Israel — led to the violent displacement of Iraqi Christians, many of whom were killed, raped, expelled, or forced to live in mortal, but do you see any Jew troubled by the consequences of their grand plan to pacify the Middle East to make it more amenable for Israel? Of course not.
Anyway, had it not been for Hitler’s crazy plan to invade the USSR, Jewish power would have been over in Europe, and furthermore, Europe would not, today, be ruled the globalist Jews and be in the process of being overrun by barbaric Muslims and savage Negroes. If Nazis and Soviets had kept the peace, Western Europe would have been less of a ‘liberal democracy’, but the most important thing for a nation is the survival of its race, culture, heritage, and identity. Political systems come and go; what really matter are blood and soil. If the Japanese were offered two options — the next hundred yrs ruled by autocrats but with Japan remaining Japan AND the next hundred yrs ruled under liberal democracy but with Japanese becoming a minority in their own ancestral land — . what do you think most Japanese would choose? They would choose political repression with Japan remaining Japan than political freedom where Japan no longer becomes Japan. (Besides, is liberal Europe really politically free? Consider that majorities in many nations oppose immigration, but the elites keep pushing for it anyway. Consider that most of the media in Europe are controlled in the hands of a few, many of them globalist Jews. Consider the mass-brainwashing via political correctness. And consider the fining and imprisoning of people whose thoughts are said to be ‘hateful’. Consider the banning of certain books. Thus, EU is not a democratic union but a PC tyranny where the people really don’t have real choice. In some ways, it’s more dangerous than honest repression because of its bogus cult of ‘liberal’ freedom. Same in the US, which is now a Jewish oligarchic state where men like Bush II and Obama have been little more than grocery clerks for their Jewish masters.) Oppressive political systems come and go, but once the blood-and-soil is lost, it is lost for good. Since Jews have no blood-and-soil claim in the West(where their power is most entrenched), they’ve been eager to erase all sense of national, cultural, and racial sense of identity rooted in blood-and-soil among white Europeans and white Americans. (Though Jews cannot claim blood-and-soil ownership of the West, the fact that so much Jewish blood was spilt by Nazis on European soil has led to the notion that New Europe has been germinated and fertilized by the blood of saintly Jews: blood-in-soil theory.) Jews want all whites to feel shame in their own blood-and-soil history, whereby the ONLY way whites can atone for their evil historical sins and redeem their moral worth is by embracing the notion of the ‘proposition nation’, and this ideological virus infects not only the US but Europe as well, which is why France and Holland are turning into extensions of Africa and why UK is turning in extensions of Africa, Jamaica, Pakistan, and India. By undermining the blood-and-soil-isms of such nations, Jews seek to secure their globalist domination over them forever. And this is also why Jews favor India over China. It’s not because India is a democracy. If India were an autocracy while China were a democracy, Jews would still favor India. It has to do with the fact that India is diverse, messy, and disunited whereas China is racially and culturally united, (relatively)orderly, and proud in its sense of national purpose. Jews identify closely with Indian elites since the latter have little in common with the masses they rule over. Just as Jewish elites rule over dimwit goyim in America, Westernized Indian elites rule over vast numbers of grubby members of lower castes with whom they have little in common. Even a democratic China will be culturally and racially united, and Jews will hate that just like they hated ascendant democratic homogeneous Japan in the 80s. (Jews know that all nations are really ruled by elites and most people are sheep. If you control the elites, you control everything else. So, if Jews want to control other nations, all they have to do is win over the elites. Jews want the elites of all nations to feel closer to global Zionists than to their own peoples. Jews sense that Indian elites are closer to global Zionists than to their own Indian masses, and so, Jews like India. But Jews sense that Chinese elites have a strong bond with the Chinese masses, and this is troubling to Jews. In America, Jews have steered white gentile elites away from the white gentile masses. Thus, even conservatives like Bush II and Romney never speak up for their own people and instead have been more eager to please global Zionists and bend over to gays.)

Anyway, though hideous Jews had long been using divide-and-rule tactics to control goyim, the downfall of the European Right must be blamed on Hitler himself for invading Russia. Convoluted rationales such as those cooked up by Patrick Buchanan in UNNECESSARY WAR simply will not do. Hitler didn’t need to invade Russia. Also, had he treated the Slavs better upon the invasion, a whole bunch of them might have allied with Germans to overthrow the communist regime. But Nazis were such monsters that the rift between white German goyim and white Russian goyim became irreparable. Also, Hitler’s invasion of Russia emboldened the stupid Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor, and then US entered the war, and when Germany declared war on US as well, it was not only white Germans vs white Russians but white Germans vs white Americans. If Hitler hadn’t invaded Russia, white Germans and white Russians eventually could have been good friends and allies. And if there had been no war between US and Germany, the majority of white Americans would have been for doing business with Germany, especially since there were so many German-Americans in the US. Also, there would have been no Holocaust had Germans not gone invading into USSR. Though Germans treated Jews badly in German-occupied lands — and though some of the violence in Poland prior to the invasion of Russia came close to genocide — the Holocaust really took off when Hitler surmised that war with Russia would be long and difficult, indeed even hopeless. It was only a matter of time before crafty Jews, with their control of the media, would milk the Holocaust and turn it into Schmolocaust to make themselves as the ultimate saints-martyrs of history when, in truth, the majority of Jews are a bunch of hideous and venal snakes who never gave a shit about humanity. Saints and martyrs CHOOSE to die for the higher good. Though millions of Jews were killed or suffered horribly, they were victims, not saints or martyrs. If the Nazis hadn’t been antisemitic but only anti-Polish, Jews would surely have collaborated with Nazis to kill a whole bunch of Poles. And in France, if Nazis had been only anti-Gypsy but not anti-Jewish, French Jews would have helped Germans round up gypsies. Also, given the true nature of people like Frank Rich, Elena Kagan, Ezra Klein, Thomas Friedman, and Tim Wise, isn’t it about time we admit that even a rotten scumbag like Hitler had some valid reasons for hating Jews. What is unnatural is not the hatred of Jews but the love of Jews. While we can admire Jews for their intelligence and creativity, they are simply not a likable people. Granted, lots of peoples are not likable. Italians are a lying bunch of snakes, Russians are drunken louts, Greeks are backstabbing leeches, Chinese are dog-eating monsters, Japanese are repressive retards, Irish are bunch of mean potatoheads, and Germans are an anal bunch of pain in the ass, but it’s the Jew who has the intellectual power and temperamental will to take over entire communities and subvert them to maximize the insatiable Shylockian power of his tribal will. And one thing for sure, Jews certainly don’t like us. In a way, we should thank Larry David for his ‘piss on Jesus’ episode in CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. He was admitting, in his own crazy way, that THIS is how we Jews feel about your dumb fuc*ing white goyim. So, how ridiculous that so many white people bow down before Jews and beg, “Please, can I kiss your ass, can I suck your cock and swallow your cum, and will you piss in my mouth?”
What’s really strange about America is the great divergence between the white American style of individual freedom/power and the white American reality of subservience and servility before Jews. Jews have the power and give orders to white Americans around, but white Americans still act like they are a bunch of John Waynes with the power and the noble desire to save and protect poor, helpless Jews. So, Newt Gingrich talks big and tough. He talks as if poor little Israel is about to be destroyed by Palestinians, and he acts like he’s the new sheriff in town who will do what’s necessary to fix the world. His style is so different from that of the toady Japanese. Gingrich comes across as a confident, brash, and proud tallie. But just follow the money trail, and what is he really? He’s just a servile toady to Jews like Sheldon Adelson. Or look at Mitt Romney. He talks tough about Iran threatening poor helpless Israel. He visits Israel and acts like he’s some great white god with the power and will to save Israel, ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’, from all those villainous and all-powerful ‘Muzzies’. But we all know Romney is little fish. He may be worth $200 million, but that’s peanuts compared to Jews who own billions. He’s no less a puppet of Neocon Zionists than Newt Gingrich is. And look at Obama, the mulatto punk scumbag. He talks big, acts big, and puts on airs as though he’s the messiah, the greatest man that ever lived. He acts alpha and stuff, but what is he really? Jews look at Obama and think, “We made that boy.” Obama couldn’t get much support from the black community, and whites wouldn’t have noticed him if he hadn’t been hyped by the Jew-run media like Will Smith was built up by Jew-run Hollywood. Obama knows the fact of his ‘power’. He knows he was made by Jews, but he’s such a crass, shallow, and jiveass punk that he likes to flatter himself that he’s like the dude in SPOOK WHO STOOD BY THE DOOR, i.e. that he’s the one working the Jews, using them to use him so that he could use them back and gain the power to change the world so that it will make way for mulatto supremacism. Though Obama makes a big deal of his blackness, he really thinks he’s superior for his mulatto-ism. He thinks he has the best of black genes and best of white genes, and that makes him superior to both whites and blacks. In the new globalist world of open borders, mixed identities, and mongrelization, he is supposed to be the grand messiah of interracism, what with the masculine and macho Negro element mixing with the feminine and effete white element. Given that so many whites suck up to Obama — and even alternative conservatives will praise him as a ‘fine fellow’, which isn’t much different from Chris Matthews having an orgasm up his leg — , maybe there is truth in the notion of whites embodying the ‘faggoty’ and effete feminine principle whereas the macho masculine principle is embodied by the Negro. Are whites to blacks what Asians are to whites? Notice that Asian women dump geeky Asian boys and be humped by taller and bigger white guys. Similarly, white girls are dumping soft, flabby, and dweeby white guys and going with hard, muscular, and tough Negro men. And Jews are loving every minute of it. Jews have long felt intimidated by proud and powerful white men(especially the ‘Aryan’ hero or big dumb Polack), but the entire white race is becoming feminized in relation to the black race. As white women choose to have babies with black men, white men mostly fall into two categories: wimpish liberals and moderate conservatives who praise interracism and say “we’ve come a long way.” Such guys have accepted their dorkiness and pussyboyness in relation to Negroes. They think, “May the best man win in the game of sexual competition as in the game of sports.” Since blacks have tougher voice, tougher muscles, and bigger dicks, liberal and moderate conservative white men believe black men have the right to have sex with white women while they themselves submit to black supremacy like dorks. It’s like a pitbull male humping a golden retriever female while the male golden retriever accepts the new order and sniffs its own butt. As for right-wing white guys, they don’t like the new reality, but all they can do is sulk and whine because they don’t have the power or knowledge to unite and fight back. So, they come up with sites like ALTERNATIVE RIGHT where angry white guys bitch and whine but do nothing of any consequence. Having lost intellectually and financially to Jews, creatively to gays, politically to feminists, and physically/sexually to Negroes — and even in the geek department to Asians — , angry white male rightists have nothing left to do but seek the therapeutic comfort of Nietzsche-ism and BATMAN comic books and movies. And for all their anger, none of them has the guts to sacrifice their comforts for the good fight. Even if angry white guys don’t have as much as they used to, they still have too much, and they don’t wanna give it up. Revolutionary armies form when a whole bunch of people have nothing to lose. Many who joined the Russian revolution, Chinese revolution, or Algerian revolution had nothing to lose. But even angry white guys have sufficient wealth, sufficient comfort, and enough goodies in life, and no matter how angry they may get, they’d rather cling to their immediate comforts than start/join a real revolution. But even if they were to give their hearts and soul to the White Revolution, there would still be too many OTHER white Americans who are sufficiently well off and don’t want ‘radical’ changes. Even in Weimar Germany, it took over a decade of horrible economic conditions for the Germans to embrace a new kind of change. And it took the Great Depression in the US for Americans to support the then ‘radical’ policies of FDR, who having been elected four times, almost served as a semi-dictator for over 12 yrs. Of course, with the near-total Jewish control of the American(and Western) media, it’s more difficult than ever to start a new revolution. There is the power of the internet, but alternative voices are so diffuse and contradictory that it may be more difficult than ever to pull together a new movement. (And in some ways, social networking has made young people even more conformist. Since the whole thing about ‘Facebook’ is to have lots of friends and be ‘liked’ by them, there is greater pressure to go along and get along with the prevailing trends, biases, and agendas. If your social-network friends are for ‘gay marriage’, you’d feel left out if you weren’t for it as well. This is why the most interesting comments on the internet are by anonymous people, and this is why the Left is so eager to dismiss them as mere ‘racist trolls’ to be hunted down with new laws that ban ‘hate speech’. In the UK, a kid even went to jail for making a racial joke on Twitter. UK and EU are not democratic.) Also, what with Jewish control of legal institutions, media, and government, how long will it be before there are ‘hate speech’ laws in America as there are in Europe? Jews not only want to own and control all the means of media and information but control what people can say and can’t say. Jews are worse than Big Brother of 1984. It’s no wonder that George Orwell didn’t like Jews.

What with Jewish control of the media and other powerful institutions, whenever white patriots speak honestly about problems they face, they are accused of ‘scapegoating’ Negroes, immigrants, and etc. But how does one scapegoat Negroes when the problems they cause is plain to see? Scapegoating happens when innocent people are blamed for something for which they are not responsible. But look all around, and who can deny that Negroes cause the bulk of the problems in America? Even in Canada where blacks make up a relatively small number, they commit a disproportionate number of crimes. And besides, it was liberal Bill Clinton who decided to lock up a whole bunch of Negroes — was he scapegoating them, or is it okay if a liberal president herds bad blacks into prisons like cattle? Scapecattling huge numbers of blacks through imprisoning and displacing(via Section 8 Housing) is no problem for Jewish liberals. And it was liberal NY that elected tough guy Rudy Giuliani to deal with crime, which, in most big cities, means Negro crime. And NY has enforced pat-down laws that have generally targeted blacks and some Hispanics. So, even as white and Jewish liberals try to tag this ‘racism’ shit on white conservatives, they concoct and enforce ‘racist’ laws that are designed to control Negroes and keep them away. Given this reality, it’s understandable why privileged Jews and whites promote ‘affirmative action’ tokenism. If they allow a handful of ‘clean cut’ Negroes into their own circles, they can show off that they are not ‘racist’ and suppress the fact that they employ all manner of policies designed to control Negroes and keep them in their place. And white/Jewish liberals rabidly and virulently decry the ‘racism’ of red state conservatives to divert national attention from the racial divisions in blue states. Anyway, scapegoating in America is done mostly by Jews who control the media. No matter what happens, whites are tarred-and-feathered, scapegoated for all the wrongs.
So, when the Hispanic George Zimmerman shot and killed the black thug Trayvon Martin, the Jewish media blamed it on WHITE MALE Zimmerman who killed a supposedly angelic black kid ‘armed with only Skittles’. When Omar Thorton killed a whole bunch of innocent white folks, Jew York Times, aka New York Times, spun the narrative whereby the message was “maybe those white victims were ‘racist’ and had it coming to them.” And when a bunch of black thugs beat up a white boy in Jena, Mississippi, Jews in the media spun it as poor traumatized Negroes taking action against some KKK kid. And if black students mess up in school and get suspended more than white students, it’s the fault of whites — even if most of the disciplining was done by liberal teachers of all colors; even black teachers are more likely to discipline black students than other students. But the blame always falls on whites, the perennial scapegoats in the fiendish eyes of hideous Jews. If idiot blacks made a mess of New Orleans after Katrina, it was white folks’ fault for ‘neglecting the black community’. But if whites invest in big cities and resettle in urban areas but then are attacked by black mobs in race riots, whites are blamed against for not having done enough to ‘understand’ blacks. And when such explanations fall flat, there is always the scapegoating of the ‘legacy of slavery’ even though recent black immigrants in Europe are acting no different from blacks in America. Even the mess in Africa is blamed on whites. Hutus are said to have acted as they did in Rwanda because of introduction of white ‘racism’. And black Africa is poor because of white imperialism. What about the fact that South Africa under Apartheid had an economy larger than all of the rest of Africa combined? Should whites be credited with that? No, we are told that black poverty in South Africa is the result of apartheid. But what about the fact that blacks were even poorer in ‘liberated’ African nations like Zaire or Zimbabwe? And what about the fate of Detroit? Was it apartheid that turned Detroit into what it is today? If anything, Detroit, as the Motor City, offered tons of jobs to blacks who migrated out of the South. If anything, black power kept rising in the 60s and 70s, and in time, blacks gained control over all levers of Detroit. So, what happened? Are blacks to blame for any of this? No. Jews, who warn us against the dangers of scapegoating, freely scapegoat whites for all the problems in the black community. If a Negro raped a white woman and bashed her head in, she would be blamed for whatever reasons. Indeed, just get a load of this story covered by David Duke but suppressed by the Jew-run media. Now, Duke is a two-faced snake, but how is it that even someone as lowly as him tells the truth while the so-called Mainstream Media run and owned by the ‘best and the brightest’ never tire of telling us lies.

Just consider: so many white men in jail have been anal-raped by monstrously muscular Negroes, but the iconic image of the black prisoner today is the weepy-faced mountain-sized Negro who wuvs a wittle white mouse in GREEN MILE. Jews make a big stink about the evils of scapegoating — especially the ‘scapegoating’ of Jews by the Nazis — , but at this point in history, notwithstanding the fact of Nazi horrors, it should be obvious to all honest people that Jews were far from being unjustly scapegoated by ‘anti-Semites’as many Jews back then — as they are today — were radically involved in the subversion of European races, cultures, economies, and nations. Given the vileness of Jews in our world, I’m almost inclined to think that many so-called ‘anti-Semites’ didn’t go far enough in their condemnation of Jewish power and agendas. If Jews are so anti-scapegoating, why did so many Jewish communist have no qualms about scapegoating the bourgeoisie, the kulaks(especially in Ukraine), the Christian Church, and etc? Jews talk about how Nazi films presented dehumanized images of the Jew, but what about the dehumanized portraits of the Christian priest in BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN and of murderous bourgeoisie ladies in OCTOBER by the Jewish-homo-Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein? According to OCTOBER, bourgeois ladies are so vicious that they use their parasols as stabbing instruments to kill a hapless member of the proletariat. And consider how Jewish Hollywood have depicted Muslims in movies, especially since the 1980s. ‘Muzzies’ are all terrorists who have nothing better to do but hatch plans to blow up the world with stolen nuclear bombs. Perhaps we’ve gotten our fill of ‘Muzzies’, and so the next big enemy to scapegoat is the yellow-perilous Chinese(disguised as North Koreans) in remake of RED DAWN.
So, even though US is really Jewish-occupied and Jewish-controlled territory, Jewish-run Hollywood has all these dumb Americans believing there’s a Muslim hiding in every city to blow us up with nukes or the Chinese are hatching plans to invade and occupy whole swaths of America. Notice how Jews tell us not to scapegoat, but they tirelessly scapegoat white people, Muslims, Chinese, etc. And in a whole bunch of Hollywood movies, Russians have been the villains EVEN THOUGH COLD WAR ENDED IN THE LATE 80S! Maybe Russians are white enough to count as evil. Most of these Russian villains in Hollywood movies turn out to be gangsters, but none of them happen to be Jewish though much of the Russia mafia has been controlled by Jews from the very beginning. Jews see us as dummies and toy with our dimwit minds, and they get away with it because they are smarter than us. But that’s too simple an explanation. After all, during the glorious age of antisemitism — the good and rational kind as opposed to the evil kind represented by radical Nazis — , many white people did see the Jews for what they were, and they alerted one another as to the danger posed by Jews as both radical leftists, subversive termites, and financial sharks. It was really WWII and the Holocaust — and Jewish manipulation of historical memory with their control of the media — that made it impossible to speak truth to Jewish power.
Also, it didn’t help that the Cold War soon followed WWII. The Cold War was a great boon to Jewish power since the ‘Free World’ had to prove its universalist moral worth against the communist world. With the other great White Power, the Soviet Union, fanning the flames of non-white rage against America and the West, the ‘Free World’ felt obligated to win hearts and minds all over the world with demonstrations of ‘anti-racism’, and in doing so, white power and interests were undermined in the West. But white Russia also suffered from this stupid conflict because it bankrupted itself by promoting useless Third World revolutions that didn’t serve Russian interests in any way. This is why I say the only people who truly won the Cold War were the Jews. Jewjimbo manipulated white Americans and white Russians to bash one another. And Jewjimbo played both sides. Many Jews served as Soviet agents and leftist academics in the West, but Jews also played a role in bringing down the Soviet Union because it had turned against Jews. Of course, another reason why American whites lost to Jews had to do with the softness of the Wasp elites. Though their forebears had been hard men who conquered and settled a vast wild continent, the successive generations got gimpier and gimpier. Born into privilege and over-stuffed with manners, Wasp elites lost the zeal to fight. They’d rather lose fairly or even lose unfairly than get roughed up to win the fight for power.

In contrast, Jews were raised in environments of fierce competition — amongst one another and against the goy world —, and so they were all revved up to fight, cheat, swindle, and do everything under the sun and under the rock to grab as much power as possible. Indeed, wasps didn’t just lose power to Jews but also to Catholics, and if a good number of Catholics hadn’t been conservative, America would be even more liberal than it is today. The Catholics had a long tradition of unity, discipline, and sacredness, and this legacy kept them more determined andfeisty than the wasps, who after the conquest of the West, kept losing their fighting prowess and will. But it was a matter of time before Catholics would lose to Jews as well. One advantage of Jewish power was a Jew didn’t have to be religiously Jewish to feel Jewish. Judaism is a blood religion, and so Jewish power could be religious or irreligious, and thus it was more adaptable in the modern secular world. Catholicism, being a credo-religion, became less and less relevant in the modern world. But the real downfall of Catholicism must be attributed to the dynamics of jismic decay. The fatal flaw of Catholicism was not allowing its priest to marry and have kids. Now, this would have been no problem if only a select group of priests were required to be celibate. Suppose most Catholic priests were allowed to marry but there was a separate priestly order of special spiritual purity where priests must be celibate, and suppose the Pope could be selected only from this small pool of super-pure priests. That would have been doable, but Catholicism required all priests to be celibate. At least in the old days, there was sufficient honor and respect in being a priest, and so enough men wanted to join the cloth. But in the modern era, where most men wanted to have fun and felt no shame about sexuality, Catholic priesthood appealed only to people who were really into the spiritual aspect of Catholicism, and such people became harder to find. In the past, joining the clergy could be one’s ladder to elite status; that is rarely the case today, and so the Church no longer attracts the intelligent and ambitious. Also, in the old days, Catholic males didn’t have too many temptations to tickle his balls. But today, men are surrounded by movies, TV, and internet porn 24/7; even hotels owned by Mormons offer cable porn. There are far more temptations, and so men’s balls are producing more jism than ever. Since the balls of Catholic priests are not given relief through sex, the jism just piles up and start decaying, and this can’t be good for mental health either. Worst of all, since most healthy and normal men don’t go into priesthood, the Catholic Church has been taking just about anyone, and many of these turn out to be dregs of society, repressed homosexuals, pedophiles, fanatics, and other freaks. Since freaks do freaky stuff in the Church, the Church has been rocked by one scandal after another, and the Jewish media have had a field day and have used the scandals to undermine the Church, which is why the Catholic Church is declining rapidly in the modern world. Also, the Church meant something to the people in the past when there had been no welfare and little in the way of entertainment. Thus, poor people relied on church charity, and ordinary workers relied on church hospitals. And going to church on Sunday and eating crackers, sipping wine, and listening to music was like a form of entertainment. And going to Church also gave the poor an opportunity to wear their best and look/feel respectable at least one day a week. But with abundant welfare that has fattened poor people’s asses and endless entertainment junk on TV, what need for the Church? And who cares about respectability anymore in our age of shamelessness?
The ONLY way to reverse the tide is to end the dynamic of jismic decay. By allowing most priests — except for a holy pool of select few — to marry, the Catholic Church will attract many more healthy men. And if such men were to have large families, there can even be family traditions in priesthood — like there are family traditions in serving the military or becoming a policemen. But, the forces of stupid reaction are such in the Catholic Church that I doubt if it will be able to save itself. Unlike nonsense such as ‘gay marriage’, allowing priests to marry
would not go against the teachings of Christ.
Paradoxically, the arch-conservatism of the Catholic Church will only pave the way for the arch-radicalization of the Church. Unless the church policy on priest celibacy is changed, most normal and healthy conservative men will not enter into priesthood(because most healthy conservative men wanna have families), and that means more gays and other freaks will enter the priesthood. In time, those freaks will come out of the closet and change Church policy from within to serve radical causes, and indeed, some of this has happened already.
People like Pat Buchanan will stand in the way of necessary reforms because they are more committed to dead dogma than living faith. Though all systems needs theories to guide reality, reality is always more important than theories that, no matter how long they’ve been venerated, have been proven to be false or counterproductive. Why did the Soviet Union fall? It clung to dead dogma. Why did the Chinese Communist survive and thrive? It gave up the dead dogma of Maoism and embraced free market reforms that produced real wealth. If Catholicism is about producing real life — it opposes abortion after all — , then its priests, as family men, should serve as moral role models of proper sexual behavior: marriage and family. Jismic decay is anti-life. Sure, one can argue Jesus and Disciples were virgins or mostly virgins, but Jesus never told any of them not to marry. They just got killed before they got married. Besides, if celibacy is so important to some Catholics, the Church can have the best of both worlds with a system where most priests are allowed to marry while a separate class of priests — who hope to be candidates for Pope one day — must be celibate. That way, the Church can have lots of family priests and some celibate priests too. This can save the Church, but too many Catholics will reject it because they’d rather cling to dead dogma than embrace a living faith.

YOJIMBO is, to some degree, about the instability — and all-too-easy degradation — of the Respectability of Power. Even amongst the most primitive tribes, there is a connection between earthly power and spiritual power, and so, there is a need for both warriors and shamans. Hunter-warriors of primitive tribes show off their prowess, but they often feel overwhelmed by forces, elements, and creatures of nature — storm, lightning, ants/bees/mosquitos, big animals, poisonous animals, animals that ambush man in realms in which he is not the master(think of piranhas that can gnaw a person to the bone in a minute). So, hunter-warriors know well not to act too big. They must show respect to the higher powers of nature. Even so, they are not in worshipful or prayerful mode of the devotees of higher religions. Hunter-warriors don’t bow down and prostrate themselves before the higher spirits, nor do they believe that the higher spirits represent moral order. They believe higher spirits are simply more powerful in their badassery, and so they seek to harness some of that power. So, African hunter-warrior tribesmen will wear lion claws in the belief that the power of lions will be transmuted to the warrior. And even among high civilizations, such superstitions exist, which is why scrawny Chinese men will eat tiger penis to feel virile though, in fact, they still remain a bunch of dorks. Though primitive folks believed in higher spiritual realms, their intellectual imagination hasn’t reached a point where the spirits they believed in are truly of a great power. Primitive folks generally believed in spiritual powers as spread out as across nature in bits and pieces. So, there were countless spirits of all kinds all around them. Some of these spirits were more powerful than men, some were weaker than men. And men had to be in tune with the spirits, work with them, work against them, and etc to survive. But as higher civilizations developed, mankind pooled together countless spirits and formed them into bigger, mightier, more masterful, and more awesome gods. These gods and spirits were thought to be so powerful that mankind couldn’t hope to harness their powers as African hunter-warriors did by wearing stuff like lion claws. No, mankind had to bow down before these gods and spirits and plead for mercy and support. Think of the gods of the Aztecs. They were so fearsome and powerful that the Aztecs sacrificed countless men and women to them. Though Aztecs didn’t believe in a single god, their limited number of gods were truly powerful and demanded respect. Even the mightiest Aztecs warriors had to bow down before the great gods. But such was a world ruled only by fear, and this fear derived from the terror of the Aztec gods. The Aztec gods ruled by great power but not with higher moral truth. The only truth that mattered was they were the most powerful gods and needed to be satiated. Not all higher gods of ancient civilizations were so ruthless and bloody. Egyptian gods, though similar in some ways to Aztec gods, were rather benign — relatively speaking — and something like a profound spiritual philosophy developed around them.
Even so, the respect for such gods relied mainly on their power, not their higher goodness. Things really began to change with the coming of Judaism, Buddhism, and Confucianism(which, while not a religion in the strict sense, had spiritual than rational-philosophical overtones). Though the Jewish God began as a mighty God obsessed with power, He gradually evolved, finally giving birth to the new concept of God of Christianity where higher goodness came to matter as much as — in some ways, even more than — higher power. So, even though Jesus is supposed to be the Son of God or even God Himself, He chooses to suffer nobly and serve as a moral beacon to all of mankind than act like a badass messiah or badassiah using his power to show humanity who’s boss. And Confucius said, over and over, that he much prefers virtue over victory. Power, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily worthy of respect. There’s an account of how Confucius came to the gate of some city but heard sounds of battle and turned away; he figured people stupid enough to clobber one another would have no use for his moral teachings.
So, the concept of power faced a great challenge in the new order of things. In the West, with the spread of Christianity, an idea rose that power, in and of itself, could be forces of evil. And in China — and later Japan — as it came under Confucian doctrine, there was the ideal that a good society should be ruled by philosopher-bureaucrats of peace than ruffians of violence. But the fact remained that society was filled with violence, and so, men with the biggest swords got to do as they wished. This was especially true since, after the fall of the Roman Empire, much of Europe was ‘ruled’ by rampaging tribes of Germanic barbarians who were like the Hell’s Angels of the age. Since they were given to pillaging and head-bashing, they figured they would be happy and mighty warriors forever. But here was the problem: there was no guarantee that your side would win forever. Your side might win one day, but your enemies might win the next. You could kill and enslave the other side today, but some other tribe could do the same to you the next day. Also, as time passed, certain tribes gained supremacy over others and wanted to secure their power than keep fighting all the time; endless fighting tended to undermine the authority of the ruling powers. The dominant tribes began to think that maybe the moral cult of peace was better for keeping their hard-earned power than endless violence. Also, with the rising threat of Islam, Europeans began to sense that unless they got their acts together under the banner of some higher value system, they would be overrun by alien warriors of Near East and North Africa. Since tribal warriors were hardly learned and not much as thinkers, they came to rely on the best organized spiritual-intellectual elements of their time, and it was the Christian Church. Though the Church had suffered along with the rest of the Roman Empire when the empire fell, it survived through the devotion and commitment of its faithful and through the disciplined organization of its institutional authority. Also, the nature of Christianity, in contrast to most other religions(except for Judaism, its parent religion), had well prepared its followers for defeat. This was perhaps the most important lesson that goyim took from Jews. Judaism, after all, had been designed so that its followers would maintain hope in their God even through worldly defeats. Since the Jewish God was abstract and stood for moral principles, He couldn’t be destroyed along with the Jewish temples. And besides, there were no idols of Him to smash at any rate. And the Jewish God had assured the Chosen People that they would recover and rise up again and again as long as they kept their faith in Him. Thus, if pagan gods fell along with the pagan powers, the Jewish God survived even with the fall of the Jewish people; and through their faith in Him, the Jews would survive and rise over and over. Similarly, the Christian God survived the fall of the Roman Empire. If the pagan gods of Greece and Rome had been about might and power — and all the attributes like intelligence, ability, heroism, and etc. associated with power — , the Christian God and His Son Jesus were about love, goodness, and higher virtues that were prepared/psyched to face worldly defeat. In a way, the fall of the Roman Empire was the best thing that could have ever happened to Christianity for, in the long run, the event and its aftermath proved that Christianity was indeed a religion that could survive anything. What was more cataclysmic than the fall of the Roman Empire — the power that seemed invincible and everlasting at its peak — in Western history(or even all of human history)? And yet, not only did Christianity spiritually convert the Roman Empire but it survived its utter downfall. The survival of Christianity proved that its power was indeed spiritual and not merely material and temporal. Even without the backing of the mighty Roman Empire after its fall, the Church survived and eventually grew even more powerful and became the foundation of an even greater empire that would indeed conquer and/or convert the entire world. (Even Marxism was a variant of Christianity in a way.) Indeed, the main Jewish gripe toward Christians had less to do with Christians accusing Jews of having killed Jesus — after all, Jews in the Talmud declared they had indeed played a decisive role in the killing of renegade heretic Jesus — than with the fact that goyim ‘stole’ the secret of Jewish survival.
Jews find it especially frustrating and painful because the people who actually did the stealing were Jews themselves: Jesus, the Jewish Disciples, Saul/Paul, and many others. Imagine if some renegade Israelis slipped atomic bombs to Iranians. Before the rise of Christianity, Jews looked back on history and thought, “other civilizations whupped us real good, but in the long run, we survived, they didn’t.” But with the coming of Christianity — and later Islam — , Jews were met with a people who would never go away. The mighty pagan Romans were no more, but Christians always seemed to make a comeback — just like the Jews — and getting stronger and stronger. Worse, if the number of Jews was fixed, the number of Christians was swelling with each passing year via conversion. So, Jews really began to shit, and this is why, in their anger, they wrote in the Talmud that Jesus is boiling in a cauldron of shit for all eternity. For Jews, Jesus was the renegade Jew who’d handed the nuclear secrets of Judaism and given it to other peoples. This is one reason why Jews have felt such animosity toward Christianity. It hasn’t been just about Christian ‘antisemitism’ but about the fact that goyim-as-Christians had mastered the way of out-Jewing the Jew. And this was all the more painful to Jews since goyim gained mastery over Jews through ideas, concepts, and values of Jewish origin. It’s like Negroes learning the white man’s sports and winning at them, whupping the white boy at his own game, winning admiration, and taking white women from pussified white boys. It’s one thing to lose to other peoples at their own game and according to their rules but quite another to have others beat you at your own game according to your own rules.
This is why Jews want vengeance by taking ownership of the American Constitution and modern Christianity. White gentiles originally came up with the U.S. Constitution to further, justify, and maximize their own power. In a way, the American Constitution was like the Old Testament. The Old Testament says there is one and only God and He is for all humanity, but it also says Jews are especially ‘chosen’ and have special favor in the eyes of God. Similarly, the so-called Founding Fathers envisioned America as a hope for mankind, but their true intention was that America should always be ruled by white folks, especially of Northern European stock, preferably of the Anglo kind, as the ‘chosen’ elites of history; America could tolerate different peoples, but the core leadership and demography of America should be European and Christian. Thus, there was a sense of ‘chosen-ness’ about the founding of America as well. But once immigrant Jews of the late 19th century and early 20th century took power in America, they ‘Christianized’ the Constitution by turning it into a universal proposition. And so, Anglo-Americans and Anglo-ized white Americans were no longer seen as the special ‘chosen’ people of America. For America to be truly the universal hope of all humanity, America must be ‘multicultural’ and radically ‘diverse’. So, just as gentiles long ago ‘stole’ elements of Judaism in their development of Christianity, American Jews ‘stole’ elements of the American intellectual founding and radicalized it into universal creed. Ancient Jews had wanted to have it both ways: to worship the one and only universal God and to believe that they were the specially ‘chosen’ ones in the eyes of God. And Anglo-American founders had hoped for the same thing: to think of America as a new civilization of freedom and equality while, at the same time, maintaining white Europeans — especially of Northern stock — as the ‘chosen’ people of America. But Jews got their sweet revenge.
Does that mean the New America is a land of equal freedom and fairness for all? Of course not. Jews being Jews, their radical universalization of America was, paradoxically enough, mostly tribal. Jews figured that more ‘diversity’ would be good for Jews for it would allow them to play ‘divide and rule’ among the various goyim. If Jews love diversity as a principle, why the insistence on the ‘Jewish State of Israel’? And if Jews are really for equality, why aren’t they disturbed by the fact that Jews are so vastly over-represented in elite institutions, upper classes, and the list of global billionaires? Why were American Jews so upset over the downfall of Jewish oligarchic rule in Russia? No, universalism and propositional-ism are just ruses used by Jews to conceal their true agenda of Jewish Supremacism. Notice how so-called ‘liberal’ Hollywood makes tons of movies about the Holocaust but almost nothing about the mass killings carried out by communists, many of whom were Jewish. Notice how the Jewish media bashed Apartheid South Africa during the 80s, but they’re mum about the much worse Zionist oppression of Palestinians. Notice how there’s no outrage in the Jewish community that American politicians are such puppets of AIPAC and its ilk. Notice how Jews find nothing wrong with Zionists using American foreign policy to destroy the economies of nations like Iran that has no illegal nukes while Israel is showered with billions in ‘aid’ every year despite its possession of 300 illegal nukes. If Jews are indeed committed to fairness and equality, they would be appalled by the extent of Jewish power, privilege, and priorities. But there is no outrage. Jews control Wall Street, Big media and Hollywood, law firms, government, and academia; and though they make all the politically correct noises about ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’, it’s all in the service of Jewish Supremacy. Thus, what really happened was that America went from Anglo-Americans being its ‘chosen’ people to Jews being its new ‘chosen’ people, for Jews today can get away with just about anything. I mean what can you say about a nation where most Jews support ‘gay marriage’, ‘open borders’, and other mad policies that undermine the interests of white conservatives, BUT white conservatives get on their knees and say, “Jews, we love you, we wanna suck you cock, you wanna kiss your ass, we wanna help you to kill more Palestinian women and children”? What can you say about a country where its so-called ‘conservatives’ believe that Obama, a total creation of Jews, is a ‘secret Muslim’? Though Jews laugh at such notions, they use their dimwit right-wing allies to spread such falsehoods because the rumors have the way of pacifying the American Right when it comes to Jewish power. If most American conservatives really understood that Jews created Obama — as well as the gay lobby — , they would finally wake up and see Jews as their main enemy. But as long as dumb conservatives think Obama is a freaking Muslim, they will fantasize about saving helpless Jews from that evil ‘Muzzie’. It’s so pathetic I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. (Jewish hideousness knows no bounds. Take, for instance, the whole shtick about banning ‘hate speech’ to protect the powerless and minorities. It’s all just a ruse. Jews wanna ban ‘hate speech’ — of course, they get to decide what is and isn’t hate, i.e. Zionist vitriol against Palestinians isn’t hate speech but Palestinian-American condemnation of Zionism is ‘hate speech’ — to shield the powerful and privileged, namely themselves, from opposition and scrutiny. Jews are the most powerful and wealthiest people in the world. They control US and EU, and global trade. They can make or break nations. Just ask Iraqis or Iranians. So, controlling ‘hate speech’ is really about shielding Jewish power from those who dare speak truth to Jewish power. But, Jews in their cleverness, have framed the issue in terms of our need to suppress ‘hate speech’ to protect ‘minorities’. In that case, Apartheid South Africa would have been justified in banning black ‘hate speech’ of the ANC for it threatened the helpless white ‘minority’. And I suppose the British Imperialists who suppressed Indian nationalism were only banning Indian ‘hate speech’ targeted at helpless British minority rule. By the way, since whites will be minorities in US and even in the EU, maybe we should ban Jewish speech because it’s so harmful to whites who are destined to be minorities in the very nation their ancestors did so much to found, settle, and build.)
Anyway, we were saying something about the relation between Power and Respect. What the Christian authorities did for the warrior lords of Europe was provide them with the aura of moral respect. Thus, the very people who’d come to power by head-bashing could make themselves and others believe that their power served and had the support of Divine Power. Also, moral authority was useful for the powers-that-be since it could be used to dissuade would-be challengers from resorting to force. If the powers-that-be represented goodness and peace — and rule of law, however limited and monopolized by the powers-that-be — , then there was no rationale for others to use violence to challenge the established order. As has happened so many times in history, the very people who came to power via violence preached peace once they had the power. In a cynical sense, it was an effective way to disarm their enemies and potential rivals. Though ‘rule of law’ is supposed to apply equally to all, it is of course really controlled by those who control the TERMS and the enforcers of the law. Though moral authority ostensibly meant that rulers couldn’t do as they pleased and must also play by the rules, there was kin-or-tribal aspect to the dynamics of ‘moral respect’ as well: Without moral authority, it was less likely that one’s descendants would keep the power, especially since the children of rulers often lacked the warrior soul — like his daddy who fought his way to the top. Also, rulers often had children with fancy Heather-ish women — instead of big and strong Helga-ish women — , and that meant their sons could be pretty wussy. Without(the facade of) moral authority, such wimpy kids would be swept aside by more ruthless challengers. Remember the knights in EXCALIBUR after the death of Duke of Cornwall and Uther? The land is once again divided, and all the knights bash one another for a chance to draw Excalibur from the stone. A rough bunch indeed. Even after Arthur draws the sword from the stone and Merlin explains that Arthur is the son of Uther, the knights holler and shout and call for war; in their eyes, Arthur is just a dork boy. When the ruler dies in a world without moral authority, there was little guarantee that his kid would continue as ruler. Instead, the ruffian men who’d feared the power of the ruler may look upon the son as wussy boy and either kill him or shunt him aside. Thus, moral order — and the related notion of ‘rule of law’ — could serve the interests of tribal inheritance and/or kinship. This is apparent in YOJIMBO where the son of Seibei doesn’t have the requisite heartlessness and cruelty to rule like his father(and even mother). The son tries to be tough but is really a wuss. At one point, he is kidnaped by the Ushitora gang and is traded for the beautiful woman(enslaved by the sake merchant) held captive by the Seibei gang. When scared sonny boy runs to his mother, she slaps him for his wimpery.
It’s difficult to say how sincere the European warrior elites were in their embrace and upholding of Christian authority and values. Though power politics governed all of history, most Europeans, high and low, were most probably sincere in their faith in God, especially since they lived in uncertain times. Even if their kingdoms and possessions were secure, life was often short and dangerous even for the rich and powerful. Many women died in childbirth, and many kids died of disease. And even the rich didn’t have very long life-spans.
God may be most appealing to a people perched between order and disorder. If an order is too orderly and secure, people can sigh with relief and rely less on higher powers for protection and inner-peace. If an order is too crazy and wild, people might give into nihilism and say ‘what the hell’. But if one’s world teeters between order and disorder, then God becomes appealing as the X-factor that may decide events in one’s favor. In such a world, worldly authority and tools of power may be effective but not fully effective as insecurity is the ever present fact of life. Since man cannot rely on his powers alone, there is a need to have faith in God to tip the balance of things for the ‘good’ against the ‘bad’, which for most meant ‘my side’ against ‘their side’. What side didn’t see itself as ‘good’?

The powers-that-be in YOJIMBO are looking for some ‘respect’, but Kurosawa’s unsparing look at their power is rather like the X-ray image in the opening of IKIRU. It is a cultural and social cancer of the gut, one that requires ‘radical surgery’ to remove. It might even be necessary to kill the patient to save him.
In the European case — at least if we take an idealized view — , warriors who’d come to power through thuggery were promised that their blood-stained sins could be washed away if they pledged faith in God and supported the Church. Thus, their violence, which had once been associated with devilish ways, could be redeemed as the sword of the Lord. Instead of using violence as useless pagan thugs did, they could make believe that their violence was to protect the faith, to spread the faith, and to serve the House of God. Of course, there was a lot of self-interest involved, and Church authorities were often nakedly grabbing for power and riches themselves. Even so, there was an element of sincerity and spiritual truth to all this. Though the story in THE MISSION(directed by Roland Joffe) takes place in the New World long after the Christianization of Europe, it does a pretty effective job of depicting the relation of spiritual authority and worldly power in Western Civilization. The DeNiro character is a warrior-hunter-slaver and is very good with the sword and gun. The Jeremy Irons character is a priest devoted to spreading the faith. Tragically, while the DeNiro character gains something from Christian spirituality, the Jeremy Irons character is too noble to come to grips with reality, and so he perishes with his parish. If DeNiro’s character clings to the need for violence even as he embraces the spiritual teachings of Jesus, Jeremy Iron’s character clings only to the word of God and refuses to resort to any violence even to save his flock. Though Jeremy Irons is supposed to be a saint martyr in the film, I wonder if the DeNiro character is really the better man. After all, whereas DeNiro’s character had the bigness of heart to change his ways and adopt something of higher value, Jeremy Iron’s character lacks the flexibility of mind to do what’s necessary to save his people. Out of his rigidly purist devotion to ‘higher values’, he won’t adopt the ‘lower value’ even if it might save his flock. But couldn’t one say his commitment to the ‘high’ is a kind of moral narcissism? It’s as though he’d rather die as a pure saint — and have his flock die with him in the process — than make compromises to save them. To be sure, we can argue that as a believer in the afterlife, he sincerely thought he and his flock would ascend to Heaven, but I dunno. I find the DeNiro character more admirable for he’s willing to mix the low and the high. He used to be only low, but he later reaches for the high to atone for his sins. Even so, he doesn’t totally abandon the ways of the ‘low’ because he knows the reality of the world. Though it may be noble to reach for the high, we must sometimes resort to the ‘low’ in order to fight the evil lowlifes. It’s like what Sanjuro does in YOJIMBO to defeat the bad guys. He acts bad-bad to beat the bad, i.e. he out-bads the bad in the name of the good, an idea pursued by Sartre in his play THE DEVIL AND THE GOOD LORD.

Paradoxically, the fall of the West due to its moral goodness will be bad for higher morality all over the world. In the end, people respect power even if they prefer power wedded to goodness than badness. But goodness without power — and especially goodness that has been shown to lead to powerlessness — gets no respect. When US won WWII, it was seen as both good and powerful, and so many peoples around the world looked to America and tried to learn from America. Back then, white Americans balanced moral goodness with the need to maintain White Power. Thus, even though White Americans didn’t fully live up to universal and egalitarian principles, they were seen as better than most others around the world — such as the vicious imperialist Japanese — and admired for their awesome power. Since then, white Americans have been trying to be so very good by sucking up to Jews and Negroes, apologizing for their sins endlessly, but what has this led to? The rapid decline of white power in both America and Europe. If the world admired and respected American goodness-wedded-to-power during WWII — a combination of virtue and victory — , people around the world are likely to grow more cynical about Western values when radicalized variants of those values — via political correctness, multi-culturalism, interracism, ‘diversity’-ism, extreme feminism, open borders, and etc — lead to the downfall of white folks in the West. When Western values were associated with Western power, people around the world looked up to the West. But when neo-Western values — as manipulated and radicalized by Jews — are leading to the demise of Western Civilization and white power, why would people look to the West and its values anymore?
Since the new masters of the world are Jewish, the world should really look to Jews to learn about real power, but that is generally not the case since Jews who control the world media have pressured everyone not to discuss nor even notice the full extent of Jewish power. So, even though ruthless Jewish ways led to Jewish domination of the world, we are supposed to believe that Jewish Power doesn’t even exist, and anyone who dares to ‘obsess’ about it is an ‘irrational anti-Semite’ who should be silenced by ‘hate speech’ laws. Though U.N. is often accused of being anti-Israel, the fact is the real controllers of U.N. are just a handful of nations on the Security Council, and the majority of those nations are now controlled by Jews. (Besides, US doles out foreign aid based on the criteria of ‘how do you feel about Israel?’ And so, even nations that dislike Israel must be pro-Zionist to receive a welfare check from Uncle Sam that works for Uncle Schlom.) It might as well be called the Jew.N. And Jews are trying to use the U.N. to illegalize gun ownership in America and to criminalize speech critical of Jews all over the world. If Jews have their way, nations that refuse to comply with Jew.N. demands will be sanctioned and destroyed, just like Iran is being economically dismantled by Zionists who control the Jew.N.

Anyway, we were discussing Kurosawa’s proclivity for design and form, something he shared with Hitchcock and other old masters. This isn’t to suggest Kurosawa was a formalist on the level of Mizoguchi(especially with THE LOYAL 47 RONIN), Yasujiro Ozu, Max Ophuls(especially with LOLA MONTEZ), Jacques Tati(especially with PLAYTIME), and Kubrick(especially in his later films). Kurosawa balanced aspects of formalism with the passions of humanism, the forest with the trees, the larger design with intense humanism. Consider the moment Sanjuro wanders into town. Kurosawa’s telephoto close-ups bring us close to the character, as if we are walking his walk and seeing/hearing as he does.
And yet, there’s also the larger sense of the world that surrounds Sanjuro in stark contrast to the movie’s opening scene where we saw him walk alone. (Both scenes heavily rely on low angle shots, but if Sanjuro seemed ‘at home’ as nowhere man in the opening scene, he seems lost as a somewhere man in the town. The low angle shot that may him look big in the opening — with nothing between him and the sky — makes him look small in the town — as we see buildings loom over him like walls. And instead striding with confidence, Sanjuro treads carefully as he inspects the town for the first time. Sanjuro may be tough, but he also has a brain. As skilled and strong as he is, he knows the limits of his power, and so, he gets a measure of the place before settling on any course of action. Though the dominant force in the movie, he knows he cannot dominate events by his will alone, and so, as in REAR WINDOW, Kurosawa develops a keen relational sense between the characters, situations, and the physicality of the town. As when the Stewart character toys with the mind of the murderer by having his girlfriend slip an accusatory note under the man’s door, Sanjuro has to maintain a detailed sense of who is where and what is when at all times, and this is where the ‘formalist’ strategy is essential to the movie. Sanjuro may be a wolf on the road, but everyone is a mouse to some extent in the power-play maze of the town. Incidentally, Sanjuro’s entry into town and subsequent attitude may be akin to that of a Negro coming to a white community. A Negro is a very dualistic creature, both the most badass and the most wimpass. In the Negro community where violence is common, everyone kicks ass and gets his ass kicked. Everyone learns that every ass can be kicked, his as well as others’. So, a Negro is quick to act tough and talk badass toward those he thinks he can whup, but he is also the first to shut up and keep his head low when someone tougher is around. The Negro learns his lessons early. He knows badassery or real power has nothing to do with ideals or principles; it’s about the animalist fact of who can kick who’s ass. So, the Negro is the first to fight and the first to take flight. There’s something of this in Sanjuro. He knows all about the basic rules of power. So, when he’s unsure, as when he first enters the town, he plays it cool and careful — unlike the ruffians who talk big and insult him, as if acting tough = being tough. But once Sanjuro gets a good sense of the town and knows he can kick butt, he relaxes and decides to act, and it’s not long before three men are felled by his swords. In this sense, one can argue that Sanjuro was truly heroic only in the last scene where he faced a challenge where his odds of success were low; his earlier acts of violence were too easy, rather like a cat mauling mice. Similar to Sanjuro, when the Negro entered the white neighborhood for the first time, he likely felt uneasy. The lesson he learned from the black community is ‘either you kick their ass or they kick your ass.’ So, the Negro wondered about the toughness of whites and their possible hostility toward him. Were they to be feared and would they kick his ass, or would he be able to kick their ass? Initially, the Negro couldn’t be sure. But as with Sanjuro, it wasn’t long before the Negro discovered that white boys are slow, soft, dweeby, and no match for him. And so, the Negro began acting with greater confidence and then even arrogance and contempt for the ‘faggoty-ass’ whites. Even so, if he were the ONLY Negro in a white community, he knew he couldn’t act too wild. But when more Negroes arrived and a kind of ‘critical badass’ was reached, Negroes started taking over schools, streets, and public spaces. They knew they had the power and they knew whites were too afraid to do anything about it.) Seen and seeing through the cracks of doors and windows, the town’s inhabitants are like prisoners who’ve voluntarily locked themselves in; there’s more safety inside than outside the prison. Sanjuro first passes through Seibei’s turf, and Seibei’s men eye him with hostile glances. In this strictly demarcated town, you either belong to one side or the other side. If neither, you have no place and should either get out or keep your head low.
Also peeking at Sanjuro are Seibei’s prostitutes — surely the most unsavory bunch of whores ever put on screen — , and it’s plain to see they’re little more than sex prisoners. (Generally, people on the outside try to peek inside, but the dynamic is reversed in YOJIMBO where people on the inside peek outside. To be sure, any inside/outside dynamic is strange and paradoxical. Consider the fact that, generally speaking, we hide ourselves outside and we reveal ourselves inside. Out in the open, we feel free and liberated, but we keep our clothes on, watch our behavior, and mind what we say; we remain locked and hidden under clothes and manners. Inside the house, especially the private bedroom, we may feel spatially cramped, but it doesn’t matter if we’re nude or do or say whatever we please; we can freely reveal ourselves. Thus, in some ways, there’s more freedom within the prison than without. There is a scene where Sanjuro, as a battered prisoner of Ushitora’s men, escapes by hiding WITHIN his place of confinement; he hides deeper in the room to escape from the room; and then later, he hides inside a coffin and peeks out of it at Ushitora’s final destruction of the Seibei’s gang. With the rise of internet culture, we are seeing something like the privblic reality, or the private-public reality. If you are in the secure privacy of your bedroom and if you expose your ‘hidden’ self and share it with others via webcams or social networking sites, are you being private or public? People who would never show themselves naked outdoors might share their nudity captured indoors via the internet. Consider the NY Congressman Anthony Weiner who took pictures of his wiener and shared them on Twitter. He did something privblicly that he would never have done publicly. Big Brother Is Twitting His Whanker.) The town street in YOJIMBO isn’t large, but due to the ‘political’ tensions, going from one end to the other can be a nerve-wracking as a hog wandering through a patch of hyena territory. For the uninitiated and unaffiliated, you never know what’s going to happen next; and even for the regulars, being at the wrong place at the wrong time could mean instant death or capture, as when Seibei’s son is taken hostage by Ushitora’s gun-toting brother while the son’s bodyguard is cut down. Kurosawa’s mastery made Sanjuro’s entry into town one of the memorable moments in movie history.
Given the hostilities between the gangs, it’s less like a town street than a sports field, and so, fittingly, Sanjuro ‘arranges’ a match for the two teams to bash one another.

Another sense of the town’s physical and political structure is availed from Gonji’s restaurant that happens to be situated in the middle length of the street. Sanjuro, having walked from one end to the other — and keeping in mind the tips of Hansuke, the jackal that walks like a chicken — , figures the town is a rough place and not very interesting. It is really from Gonji, the restaurant owner, that Sanjuro learns of the perversely interesting ‘politics’ of the town. Though the interior is initially dark, Gonji lifts up the slats one by one and fills in the details of what is what and who is who in the town as he points to details visible through the window. As in REAR WINDOW, we get a voyeuristic look from a ‘hidden’ place. And, it is through these same slats that Sanjuro and Gonji later observe government officials taking bribes from the merchants and ganglords though the intermediary of Hansuke who sucks up to everyone. (And then, this corruption across the street is juxtaposed with the corruption inside Gonji’s place when representatives from the two gangs arrive to win over Sanjuro with bribes.) Just as James Stewart in REAR WINDOW has a privileged perspective on people and things, Sanjuro(with the help of Gonji) gains sight of and insight into the town that others have failed to grasp, Gonji included. What Sanjuro and James Stewart’s character in REAR WINDOW share is the sense of intrigue and subterfuge. And eventually, both get caught at their own game. In trying to save the family, Sanjuro lays his own trap and near gets killed as a result. And Grace Kelly’s character, by signaling that she has the murdered wife’s ring to James Stewart, unwittingly alerts the murderer that he’s being watched by — and toyed with — by someone across the apartment courtyard. In a way, both the James Stewart’s character and Sanjuro are handicapped. The former has a broken leg and is armed only with camera flash bulbs against a much bigger man. And Sanjuro is not only badly beaten up — and may not have fully recovered — , but his arch-enemy has a gun. When Sanjuro first climbed up the wooden tower to watch the two sides fight, he felt invincible and untouchable. But when Unosuke(Nakadai) first arrives in town, pulls out his gun, and shoots at the bell on the tower, Sanjuro feels vulnerable and knows he had to henceforth rely even more on his wits. And this element of vulnerability makes the final scenes of REAR WINDOW and YOJIMBO nerve-wracking. For the first time with REAR WINDOW, the audience watched a man with a broken leg fend off a tall burly wife-killer with flashbulbs. And the idea of a swordsman going off to face ten men, one armed with a pistol, was surely a first in 1960. (Incidentally, just as Hollywood borrowed from SEVEN SAMURAI to make MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, Kurosawa might have borrowed the knife-vs-gun idea from John Sturges’ movie — namely, the scene where James Coburn outdraws a gunman with his knife.)

Kurosawa, at his best, had a powerful way of fusing emotions with ideas and of balancing drama and design. But when he favored structure — both in terms of visual detail and plot outline — over character, there could be problems, as with RED BEARD and DO’DESKADEN. RED BEARD took two years to make, not least because Kurosawa insisted on the correctness of every detail(even parts of the set that wouldn’t show up in the film) and gesture, resulting in cost overruns and delays. Though RED BEARD may be Kurosawa’s most ‘perfect’ film — in the sense of “I did everything my way” — , the end-result never comes to life. It looks and feels more like craft than art. Worse, it’s craft with excessive sentimentality. Craft can be appreciated for its dryness, and sentimentality can be appealing for it moistness, but what are we to do with a film that is, at once, so austerely structured and emotionally weepy? It’s like squeezing tears out of stones. Kurosawa’s early films may be overly sentimental, but they work because Kurosawa allowed the emotions to burst and flow freely. He worked with actors than over them.
Also, Kurosawa was like a shark that either swam or sunk. He just didn’t have a natural aptitude for artful stillness that, say, Bresson, Ozu, or Mizoguchi did — and so he tended to strain when he tried to develop a more ‘mature’ and ‘refined’ style in his later films. Kurosawa’s nature was to move, to emote, to keep things hot. The camera may be still in the opening scene of KAGEMUSHA but the scene feeds on the dramatic tension. Mizoguchi, with more a jellyfish like ‘feminine’ grace, could do wonders with stillness and slowness. He could imperceptively unravel feelings and weave them into waking dreams.
Kurosawa could do a lot of things. He could use the camera like a force of nature. He could make us feel the cold wetness and searing hotness of wild nature and human nature, but he couldn’t make us dream(with the possible exception of a few moments in IKIRU). Even in his movie called DREAMS, Kurosawa could illustrate dreams but not conjure them, a limitation he shared with the theatrical Bergman who, for all his forays into dreamscape, surrealism, and magic lantern trickery, was essentially a master director of actors and physical details than of dreams and the subconscious. Kurosawa was to Mizoguchi what Bergman was to Dreyer: the difference between physicality and spirituality, between dramatic passion and dream fever. Kurosawa couldn’t do Kubrick’s bar scene in THE SHINING in a million years. But then, Kurosawa could do what others couldn’t do.

For whatever reason, Kurosawa began to ‘slow’ down his style beginning in the late 50s. Perhaps, he was growing older and no longer the energetic director of SEVEN SAMURAI. Or perhaps, the criticism that he was too ‘Western’ and volatile(and sensationalistic) made him go for a more restrained and ‘studied’ style befitting a ‘grand master’ of cinema. Maybe it had something to do with the switch to wide screen format where framing and composition mattered more than in the traditional format more conducive to montage and close-ups. (On the other hand, Mizoguchi made some of his most mesmerizing films in the traditional ration format. And Ozu made all his films in the 3:4 ratio format.) Whatever the reason, something was lost as well as gained, though the full extent of the loss wasn’t evident until RED BEARD, film that demonstrates that an artist getting everything his way isn’t necessarily best for art — which could also be said for David Lean’s RYAN’S DAUGHTER and, to some extent, Peckinpah’s PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID — though Peckinpah didn’t get to finish the film as he wished, it was still the most control he ever had over a film up to that time, probably accounting for the self-conscious, overly ‘studied’ affectation throughout the film. But if RED BEARD wasn’t what it could have been — but still an impressive work — , DODES’KADEN was a disaster, one that was rejected by both critics and the audience. It is surely the most inert Kurosawa film. (THE IDIOT doesn’t work but is at least interesting as to why it doesn’t work. DODES’KADEN isn’t even interesting on that level.) One thing I don’t get about Donald Richie’s book on Kurosawa is the gay fool thinks DERSU UZALA signaled the true deterioration of Kurosawa’s genius when, in fact, it was DODESKADEN. If anything, DERSU UZALA, for all its problems, signaled something of a return to form. For starters, it finally got Kurosawa back in contact with nature — though according to Teruyo Nogami’s book WAITING ON THE WEATHER, he wasn’t very nice to the tiger on the set — and laid the groundwork for his comeback with KAGEMUSHA that, while perhaps overpraised at the time of its release, has been unjustly neglected in the shadow of RAN; it didn’t help that Kurosawa characterized KAGEMUSHA as merely a rehearsal for the subsequent film. Anyway, DODESKADEN is especially hard-going because just about everything in it neutralizes some other thing. The film concerns a community of slumdwellers, the kind of people Kurosawa depicted in LOWER DEPTHS — as well as in scenes in RASHOMON, STRAY DOG, DRUNKEN ANGEL, SEVEN SAMURAI, and etc. But if in earlier films, Kurosawa focused on the characters, DODESKADEN is more interested in the sets. Worse, he depicts the slum world not in a slummy but in an arty way. It’s like Antonioni’s RED DESERT filled with bums. (And if poverty and slums were a compelling fact of Japanese life following the war, they are featured as picaresque eccentricities of a humanism morphed into a decadent fetish in the new prosperity. It’s like an avant-garde toy-town of the cutely poor.) Given the ‘modernist’ artificiality of the sets, you might think Kurosawa would have created characters and mannerisms to match them, but the characters are mostly simpletons or stick figures feigning earnest humanism that has grown tired and stale. The film begins promisingly enough, with a funny-looking and funny-headed kid who imagines himself to be a trolley operator. Though surrounded by poverty, he imagines a wonderland all around as he operates an imaginary trolley. This kind of whimsicality made the first half of DREAMS work, if not as dreams than as wonderful fairytales. But the funny-headed kid disappears and is replaced by a series of simple narratives with simple characters, each conveying a simple message but then in a world that looks way too far out — whoever heard of a sci-fi avant-garde slum with colors ranging from kindergarten crayon colors to Pop Art alienation? Even moments that are meant to be spontaneous feel overly rehearsed and stiff. Even a man’s tic seem timed to some mechanism. And as with RED BEARD, the film is at once too controlled and too sentimental. But at least, RED BEARD didn’t go for comedy. DODES’KADEN has to have some of the most ill-timed gags ever put on screen, completely at odds with the uproariously funny scenes in SEVEN SAMURAI. But the seeds of DODES’KADEN’s problems could be seen in the earlier LOWER DEPTHS and HIDDEN FORTRESS as well. Comedy generally needs to feel loose to work, but Kurosawa generally didn’t allow the requisite improvisational freedom — if only emotionally — to his actors. And though Kurosawa could be funny and clever, he wasn’t big on wit. Wit is the one kind of humor where precise control and timing are of the essence, and there’s nothing deader than control without wit; it’s like carefully loading a pistol and pulling the trigger without producing a bang; Takeshi Kitano had the same problem with KIKUJIRO, a film that works sentimentally but not comedically; while Kitano can be funny in a dark and absurd way, he doesn’t understand the art of wit and timing, and so the scene in the swimming pool just drowns along with the character.
There were many sides to Kurosawa, but he was usually at his worst when he went for such witless whimsies. Though MEN WHO TREAD ON TIGER’S TAIL is very impressive, the monkey-faced character is just awful. And Kurosawa shouldn’t have approached the characters of DODESKADEN as if through the prism of the funny-headed trolley kid. And clown kid in RAN was a big mistake.

Though Kurosawa grew up in the city and knew more of urban life than rural life, many of his films extol country life and nature. In NO REGRETS OF OUR YOUTH, an urban woman holds onto her dignity as she goes to and works on the hometown farm of her slain husband — victim of the military regime. Much of urban life in DRUNKEN ANGEL, STRAY DOG, IKIRU, and HIGH AND LOW are presented as squalid and corrupt. In SEVEN SAMURAI, farmers are met with hostility, contempt, or indifference when they go to town to find samurai. And the town in YOJIMBO may be the rottenest of them all. Even when no one’s around, its streets are filled with tension and fear.
While Kurosawa expressed admiration and respect for certain aspects of high civilization in films like THRONE OF BLOOD, RED BEARD, KAGEMUSHA, and RAN — the arts and culture if not the men — he rarely celebrated city life(or wallowed in its excesses) like some other Japanese directors. Kurosawa critically explored and examined city life — through the disillusioned couple in ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY, dazed cop in STRAY DOG, the outraged artist in SCANDAL, the dispirited bureaucrat in IKIRU, etc. — and never felt at ease with its values, neither as a utopian idealist or shameless hedonist.
As if in tune with the spirits/forces of nature, many of Kurosawa’s films convey the sense that the true reservoir of man’s soul is to be found outside social conventions and artificial constructs. (A similar view animates Hayao Miyazaki, whose LAPUTA: CASTLE IN THE SKY ends with the message that civilization, no matter how high above the ground and filled with technological wonders, is doomed if disconnected with the ways of nature. When the couple visits the zoo in ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY and looks at all the caged animals, it’s almost as if they are looking at their own lives and others in the human zoo called the city.) Nature can be the protector or sanctuary in times of danger. The rivals of the wicked Washizu in THRONE OF BLOOD take sanctuary in the forest before striking back. And the men of Saburo, the third son in RAN, use the forest to their advantage in their battle against the soldiers of Jiro, the second son. The exiled remnants of a clan hide out in the forest in HIDDEN FORTRESS, and forest serves as the protection of the characters in MEN WHO TREAD ON TIGER’S TAIL. This doesn’t mean that nature is good and moral. If anything, it is amoral, and it can also be the hideout of bandits, as in RASHOMON. The truth of nature is not that it is good and benevolent but that it is essential as the soil, wind, rain, and mountains that both sustain and destroy life. Nature is the source of life, and without life, there can’t be good or bad. Thus, all conceptions of good and bad must be regarded in terms of man’s connection to nature(and human nature is a part of that nature; many of us, being surrounded by art, entertainment, technology, and ideas, have embraced the conceit that we are all social constructs without much meaningful basis in biological reality. So, there is no sex and only ‘gender’, meaning sexual differences are merely social constructs; and there’s the notion of ‘gay marriage’, as if there’s no connection between biology and marriage; we say ‘race’ is a social construct; we say there is no natural or biological basis to tribe or national community; we say there is no natural or biological connection between Europe and the European race. Kurosawa felt a deep and powerful connection between nature and man — both between Japanese nature and Japanese man and between world nature and universal man). Kurosawa, like Anthony Burgess, couldn’t have accepted the social engineering of the kind perfected in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE for it’s premised on the notion that goodness can be designed in the laboratory isolated from human nature.
Nature has a way of teaching man the lessons of hubris; it has a way of reclaiming from foolish man what he has stolen from nature. Just as there is the balance of nature, there is the balance of human nature. Nature, in its own way, is a kind of a Yojimbo-like force. Just as Sanjuro plays the various forces against one another, nature will pit man against man, as in THRONE OF BLOOD. It will build you up and tear you down. It will give you life and then give you death. It is nature that plants the seeds of hubris in Washizu’s mind, and then later, nature uses other men to bring him down. There is something Godzillian about Kurosawa’s view of nature and Japan. Remember in GODZILLA, aka GOJIRA, it was man who set off nuclear explosions, and out of the ocean bottom came Godzilla who served as the agent of nature’s vengeance. In the opening scene of RASHOMON, it’s as if mankind has warred against one another and brought upon ruination — the first image is that of a temple ruin — , and so, it is now time for nature, with its forces of rain and wind, to reclaim what had been taken from it and built into towns by man. Are the nature gods good or bad? We can never tell. At the end of RAN, the funny-faced kid screams at the heavens and blames the gods for playing tricks with mankind and causing all sorts of havoc and misery. But Tango, the loyal adviser to the dead lord, sees things differently. He says it is men who are cruel and heartless, and it is the gods who weep for mankind. Maybe gods care about humanity and want mankind to prosper. Or maybe gods wants humans to fail, for the fall of civilizations means nature shall reclaim the world of man back to nature. It’s like the Zone in Tarkovsky’s STALKER is both a wasteland and a wonderland. It’s a wasteland contaminated with industrial pollution and condemned as ‘cursed’ by some extraterrestrial power and filled with weeds and critters. Yet, in the absence of humans, what had once been an industrial landscape is reverting back to ‘sacred’ nature. Same with Detroit. Negroes messed it real bad, and the place is a sorry sight. Yet, much of the city, in the absence of humans, is also returning to nature. Better wild bunnies than jungle bunnies. (Negroes are probably one creature loathed equally by real humans and animals.) And it would be better for everyone if all Negroes were shipped back to Africa and allowed to return to their natural savage jigger-jiverish ways. Negroes are unfit for civilization, which is why so many Negro-infested places in the West are turning into shit and why no great civilization was ever built by sub-Saharan blacks. Personally, I’m not all that impressed by the tower in Zimbabwe. The problem with the Negro is he’s the enemy to both nature and man. Because the Negro is part of the human species, he has enough intelligence to gain advantage over animals and cause them undue harm. But because he’s so animallike, he cannot be a real human being in the civilized sense. So, a Negro in nature will use his human intelligence to make life miserable for animals, and a Negro in civilization will use his animal aggression to hurt real humans and ruin cities. In contrast, though the white man did much damage to nature in his creation of civilization, he eventually reached a point where he could both maintain a sustainable civilization and take measures to protect nature. But Negroes living next to nature will continue to torment animals, and Negroes living in cities will continue to torment civilized folks.

As sad as the final scene of KAGEMUSHA is, there is something meaningful and soothing about the image of water flowing over submerged flag of the Takeda clan. The great clan is no more, but there is nature, and as long as there is the nature of Japan, there is sacred Japan. Besides, hadn’t the Takeda clan sought to harness and channel the forces of nature? Then, it is fitting that the clan is returning to nature, just like the Heike clan that perished into the oceans and turned into crabs. Thus, nature is holy and the root of all things Japanese, and of course, DREAMS was Kurosawa’s paean to the nature of Japan that he felt was being polluted, contaminated, and concrete-cemented to death. The Godzillian view of nature can also be found in Miyazaki’s MONONOKE HIME, the forest god of which looks almost like an inflatable vegan version of Godzilla.

The element of voyeurism comes naturally to cinema since, as noted countless times, watching a movie is like peering/peeking into the lives of others, a kind of collective espionage. Movies are like dreams too, but then, there’s an element of voyeurism in dreams. Dreaming is like voyeurism into one’s own subconsciousness and vice versa — the subconsciousness’s voyeurism into one’s consciousness(at least ‘conscious’ within the dreamworld). As in VERTIGO, the voyeuristic journey or voyeurney goes both ways. In VERTIGO, Scotty(James Stewart) is a voyeur of Madeline, but Madeline is really ‘Madeline’ and is secretly watching — or is aware of — Scotty’s watching her. Similarly, dreams are mystifyingly strange because it’s difficult to ascertain which side has the advantage: Though the dreamworld is subconscious, one is conscious within the subconsciousness of the dreamworld — and some people even have the power of lucid dreaming, which is to say they have the alert consciousness of waking life in the dream world. Most dreamers are only ‘conscious’ — they only think they are conscious — when, in fact, they are asleep and locked in the world of the subconscious. Thus, dream ‘consciousness’ is a kind of a mind trick, whereupon we are ‘watched’ by a deeper subconsciousness as we mope about ‘consciously’ in a subconscious world. (Or perhaps, dreams are the means by which the frustrated ego excavates the depths of the psyche from which crawl out so many anxieties.) Dreams occur when we are hypnotized by the subconscious into mistaking the subconscious for the conscious. Being ‘conscious’ in this state, we get to explore the subconscious world, but being under the illusion that we are awake when we are really asleep, a deeper/darker part of us is watching and examining us. The nature of this deeper/darker part of us cannot be fully understood since we can only think with conscious minds. Even with lucid dreaming, we cannot dig deep enough to get to the psychic source root of the subconscious. Though Kurosawa didn’t master the art of dream reality as Dreyer, Mizoguchi, and Kubrick did, he powerfully dramatized the theme of voyeurism. After all, YOJIMBO is like a movie within a movie. Sanjuro is both a commanding presence at the center of the movie and the hidden eye lurking around the edges of the movie. When it comes to charisma and swordplay, he has no equal, but as there’s no way he can wipe out both gangs on his own — especially when Unosuke has a pistol — he oftentimes playacts the spectator watching/studying the game from the sidelines; he is like a player-spectator, someone who enters the game to mix things up, only to run back to the stands to watch ‘innocently’ as if he has nothing to do with the outcome of the game; there may also be an element of gleeful sadism in Sanjuro’s fiddling with the power politics of the town, i.e. while Sanjuro may be morally justified in wanting to bring down the scumbags that run the town, he is having too good a time; similarly, there’s an element of sadism in REAR WINDOW, i.e. though the ‘good people’ are out to expose a murderer, they seem less interested in the dead wife than in having fun toying with the murderer; it goes to show that moral righteousness can be cruel and sadistic too; moral righteousness can justify cruelty as well as compassion: consider THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON ASS TATTOO.

When the two gangs inch toward one another in their first confrontation, Sanjuro is atop the wooden bell tower. He is High, the gangs are Low. When that little trick fails — interrupted by a messenger who warns both sides that official inspectors are soon due in town — , Sanjuro spends a lot of time at Gonji’s place, looking at the goings on through the slats; he sees them, but they don’t see him looking at them. And a key opportunity falls on his lap when he eavesdrops on two of Ushitora’s men — one of whom drunkenly blabbers about carrying out the order to have an official killed — while he pretends to be asleep. Sanjuro is both an active agent in the story and an audience member. It’s almost like he’s moving in and out of the movie: sometimes sitting next to us and studying what is happening in the town, then re-entering the movie to mess things up for both sides, and then moving back to seat next to us, and etc. Maybe this aspect of Kurosawa’s films owed something to his having studied painting as a young man. It’s like how a painter gets close to the canvas and works closely but then moves back to see the larger picture, then moves closer to work intensely, and then pulls back again, and etc. Mifune as Sanjuro is like tiger, but keep in mind that tigers don’t make their kill just by growling and acting tough. They must slowly, patiently, and voyeuristically stalk their prey before pouncing and going arrggh! So, there is a sneaky pussycat in every tiger. You need stealth to capture wealth — material, moral, or otherwise.
The quality that makes Sanjuro both an active character and something like an audience spectator may have been borrowed by Sergio Leone, and not simply because A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS owes so much to YOJIMBO. Leone too had the habit of presenting characters who were active participants and spectator-bystanders. And like Sanjuro’s watching the goings on about town through the slats of Gonji’s restaurant, there are many instances in Leone’s films where characters peek at the larger world through holes, cracks, slits, or slats in the wall. It’s like they are watching the world as a movie while we watch them in a movie. This is especially true in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, DUCK YOU SUCKER, and ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, and not least because conventional action characters get embroiled in something much larger than what the genre usually calls for. The setup in YOJIMBO is unusual because, generally in such movies, the good guy faces off against a certain group of bad guys. In SHANE, some ranchers harass salt-of-the-earth farmers, and the final fight comes down to Shane facing off against the Jack Palance character. In HIGH NOON, it’s sheriff Will Clark facing off against Frank Miller and his gang. Gary Cooper may be outnumbered, but there’s still a sense of proportionality to the conflict. It’s good guy gunfighter against bad guy gunslingers. But in YOJIMBO, there is no proportionality between good and bad. Instead of good guy(s) vs bad guy(s), it’s as if almost all of the town is entirely bad. As such, the meaning of ‘bad guys’ is almost irrelevant, for the whole town is cursed — something later picked up by Eastwood in his second directorial effort: HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER. Since most of the people of the town are bad, the town is like a senseless war zone. And against all of that is just one guy, Sanjuro, who plays the role of perverse peacemaker by triggering the tensions in the war zone into a nuclear chain reaction; it’s like if you wanna put out the fire in an oil field, you gotta use dynamite. Though the final fight could be said to come down to Sanjuro vs Unosuke with the gun, the scale and stakes of the larger conflict is less easy to grasp. In terms of scale, both Shane and Will Clark know they’re facing off against enemies they might be able to handle. But even a man as tough and skillful as Sanjuro cannot take on an entire town and beat all. Because the larger scale of the conflict, Sanjuro needs to pull back periodically to take in the bigger picture. Since he can’t go head-to-head against bad guys all at once, he needs the perspectives of both a general and a spy. He has to play the game so as to reduce the bad guys to a bare minimum; only then does he go for the decisive showdown; similarly in SEVEN SAMURAI, Kambei the elder samurai plays defense and picks off the bandits one at a time before finally letting the remainder into the village for a final battle.

Atop the bell-tower, Sanjuro gains the hawk-eye view of an army general on a hill, and from Gonji’s restaurant, he gains the rat-eye view of a spy. There’s something similar in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY due to its similar imbalance in the scales of violence. In one way, it’s an action Western about three men fighting one another for half a million dollars worth of gold. But between them is the American Civil War, the hellfire obstacle through which they must pass in order to get to the gold. And Blondie, Tuco, and Angel Eyes find many ways — some less cleverer than others — to do this. If Sanjuro tries to make both sides fight and destroy one another, Blondie(Eastwood) and Tuco(Eli Wallach) hatch a plan to blow up a bridge so that the armies will go elsewhere to fight. As good with the gun as the three men are, they cannot defeat entire armies, and so they are forced to be spy-spectators as well as active participants in the movie. They are ace gunfighters who can out-draw and out-shoot everyone, but when entire armies appear and war rages all around, they become rather like us: passive, even helpless, spectators, indeed members of the audience; but in their greed for gold, they play the Sanjuro-like strategy of going in-and-out of the big game. Movie-audience-consciousness even informs the opening of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST when three men appear at the ticket office of the train station. Though they are gunmen sent by Frank to take out Chaney(Charles Bronson) who’s soon to arrive on the train, they are almost like three moviegoers who don’t feel like paying for the tickets to see the movie. It’s like they’ve entered the moviehouse through the back entrance than the front door like everyone else; the paying audience played by the rules, but the three gunmen did not; therefore, the audience feels both thrilled and threatened by them: thrilled because it wishes to be just as defiant of social norms as the three men are but also threatened because most people are sheep than lions; the allure of movies is allowing the audience to fantasize about the way of lions while being re-assured that lambs will inherit the earth, especially with the aid of the good lion who defends the lamb from the bad lions. When Jack Elam’s character pushes the ticket clerk into a dark chamber, it’s like he’s forcing the film projector to start the movie; and in a way, that’s when the movie really begins. And the reels of the telegraph ticker that go round and round are like reels of film winding through the projector. And when they get killed by Chaney, it’s almost like three moviegoers have been punished for daring to watch a movie without having paid for the tickets. And of course, the scale of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is much bigger than in most Westerns. Though Chaney wants to avenge the death of his brother, he becomes embroiled in a much larger conflict involving the railroad. As a result, he has to be as much a sleuth and spectator as an active participant. And because he wants to be the one to kill Frank(Henry Fonda), he watches and ‘protects’ Frank when the latter is ambushed by his own men who’ve turned against him.
It’s a strange moment for it’s not a simple matter of Frank vs other gunmen; instead, we see Frank vs other gunmen through the eyes of Chaney who moves from window to window — just like Sanjuro in YOJIMBO sees the events of the town through the slats of Gonji’s place. And in DUCK YOU SUCKER, two ‘action heroes’ get caught up in a revolution. The result is both exasperating and exhilarating. Generally, heroes of historical epics are embroiled in the larger bigger-than-life events — like Heston in EL CID or O’Toole in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA — while heroes of action movies are caught up in conflicts of smaller scale which allow them to loom large — like Alan Ladd in SHANE or Eastwood in DIRTY HARRY. But movies like DUCK YOU SUCKER are something of a hodgepodge. Unlike historical heroes engaging in history, action heroes really wanna get away from history to gain something of materialistic, moral, or personal nature: usually money or vengeance. History is an hindrance to them, which is why DUCK YOU SUCKER is crazy-funny-ridiculous. John/Sean played by James Coburn is a disillusioned globe-trotting Irish revolutionary who uses explosives rather like alcohol: to drown his pain. He’s more a nihilistic destroyer than a true believer, and he doesn’t know much care about the outcome. And Juan played by Rod Steiger is a stinking Mexican bandit who only wants his pot of gold. In the end, even after Sean/John realizes he’s no revolutionary and Juan realizes money/gold isn’t gonna restore his dead family, the only thing that binds them together is a kind of friendship. They still don’t care about the world, but the world is always there, always intruding into them, between them. And the world/history is so big that Sean and Juan are, as often as not, passive spectators than active agents of their own free will. Like Sanjuro, they are conventional ‘action movie characters’ trapped in a world too big for ‘action-heroism’. Unlike Alan Ladd in SHANE, they cannot win according to the terms of action movie conventions. Shane only needs to out-shoot a bunch of bad guys and then ride away. But, what is to be done when action characters are surrounded by or confronted with the full force of history itself — the question asked by Billy Kwan in THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY? Also, if there was a genuine sense of good vs bad in SHANE, who are the good guys and bad guys in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY and DUCK YOU SUCKER? In the absence of good guys and bad guys, there’s only ‘where is mine?’, which can only be satiated by greed, but there’s no end and no closure to greed. (The other great motivation is, of course, vengeance, which is morally murky since one doesn’t have to be good in order to want to avenge someone. Michael Corleone kills Sollozo the Turk out of vengeance for the attempt on his father. It’s all about the family; ironically, it is also the logic of family vengeance that leads Michael to kill his brother-in-law Carlo and then his real brother Fredo. Though vengeance is appealing to movie audiences — not least because most action movies have good people wronged by bad people — , vengeance, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily moral in the conventional ethical sense. After all, a good person can kill a bad person, but the friend or family member of the bad person may want vengeance against the good person. Though good people can feel vengeful, sometimes it’s not clear if they’re motivated by sense of justice or personal vendetta. SHANE is about morality than vengeance because the stranger who rides into the territory knows neither the farmers nor the ranchers. He takes the side of the farmers because he senses they’re being pushed around by the ranchers. So, Shane plays both judge and executioner. It’s different in THE SEARCHERS. The character of Ethan is introduced as having a dark angry side; he feels betrayed by Northern whites who waged on Southern whites to free a bunch a black savages. And when he discovers that the woman he’d loved was raped, tortured, and murdered by red savages, he wants revenge — partly because he figures that blacks will do the same to whites in the future since blacks are stronger and tougher than white folks; his hatred of Indians is inseparable from his fear of Negroes, who today are whupping ‘faggoty’ white boy ass and humping tons of white women who’ve lost respect for soft, flabby, and dweeby white boys; even liberals now admit, “If you go black, you don’t go back”, which means black men are racial-sexually superior to ‘faggoty-ass’ white boys; liberals are funny that way: they insist on racial equality but praise blacks for their racial superiority in sports, music, dance, charisma, and sex. Ethan’s thirst for revenge is understandable, but the problem is Indians too may have their reasons for wanting revenge; after all, the white man pushed the red man out of his ancestral lands; and the white man killed many red folks. So, in a way, everyone is justified and unjustified. Vengeance may be one of the roots of morality, but it’s motivated by personal angst than ‘rational’ rules. Though simpletons equate morality with love while equating evil with hate — and since vengeance is fueled by hate, it must be evil — , vengeance is really hate borne of love. We want vengeance against those who’ve harmed whom or what we love. If a man loves his wife or mother, and if someone raped/killed the wife or mother, the man will want hateful vengeance against the evildoer. Chaney in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is fueled by hatred of Frank, the man who killed his brother. Of course, we don’t know if Chaney’s brother was a good man or just another bandit killed by other bandits. All that matters to Chaney is that his brother was killed by Frank. Vengeance is also motivated by self-love. No man wants to be pussified — unless he happens to be a ‘faggoty’ white liberal — , and it just so happens that Chaney in his youth was humiliated by Frank: While being forced to support his brother on his shoulders, he also had to suffer the indignity of Frank stuffing a harmonica in his mouth. Thus, the object of humiliation becomes the motif of vengeance; over the yrs, Chaney learned how to play, both the harmonica and the gun. At his brother’s killing, the sound that came out of the harmonica was one of desperation and fright, but the haunting music he’s learned to play stalks Frank across the West. It is because we love certain people and things that we feel anger and hatred toward those who do them harm. And that makes us want to take hateful revenge, as when US destroyed Japan and Russia destroyed Germany in WWII. Of course, liberals know this and don’t mind revenge of leftists against rightists — consider their bloodlust while watching the mawkish PAN’S LABYRINTH — and revenge of Negroes against conservative whites who are often accused of ‘racism’ by affluent liberal whites who live in safe communities protected by high real estate values and robust police presence. And Jews are full of resentment and hatred when it comes to dealing with white gentiles, Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians, and etc. But liberals, especially those brainwashed by Jews, tell white gentiles that it’s wrong for them feel vengeful feelings toward black thugs, Jewish communists and financial sharks, illegal invaders, and etc. According to the rules of Jewish morality, vengeance is okay against white gentiles, but white gentile vengeance against non-whites and Jews is ‘irrational’ and ‘virulent’. Of course, all forms of vengeance has a dark and dangerous side. Often, vengeance has a way of expanding the target. For example, during WWII, the bad guys weren’t just Hitler and the Nazi regime; entire German cities were bombed and children were killed too. And Soviet barbarians raped millions of German women, even old women and young girls. In THE SEARCHERS, Ethan’s vengeance metastasizes from Scar the red savage to Debbie, the white girl who was abducted by Scar. It’s as if she’s gone over to the other side, even though she had no choice in the matter. On the other hand, Ethan’s murderous rage is as merciful as vengeful. Like the black mama who done killed her kid than have her grow up as a slave in THE BELOVED, Ethan would rather have Debbie die an honorable death than be a sex slave of red savages. In some ways, it’s worse to have one’s kid robbed by the other side than be killed. Greek boys were taken by Turks and raised to be fanatical Muslim soldiers known as the Janissaries who waged wars on Christendom. I’ll bet lots of Greek mothers would have preferred that their boys be killed than be raised as anti-Christian soldiers of the Ottoman Empire. And it’s a good thing — both as an act of rage and mercy — that the white father killed his mudshark daughter at the end of DISGRACE. Another problem of vengeance is it can become the all-consuming meaning of one’s existence at the expense of all else. Though vengeance gave meaning to Chaney’s life, he probably feels sort of empty at the end after killing Frank. His meaningful hatred having been satiated, he no longer has a sense of personal purpose. As evil as Frank was, he’d given Chaney something to live for, something to kill for, and something worth dying for. But with Frank out of the way, Chaney is just a drifter in the vast Western wilderness. But even more dangerous is the need to find new objects of one’s vengeance. For some people, it’s not enough to get their vengeance. The vengeful mode becomes so central to their mental and moral makeup that they look for new enemies to hunt even if the connection between them and the original object of vengeance is tenuous at best. In MEMENTO, the guy keeps searching for the killer of his wife because he forgets that he already killed him. But some people remain in vengeful mode even when they know the objects of their vengeance are no longer around. Consider the Jews. After WWII, it was understandable why Jews wanted to get revenge against the Nazis and Nazi criminals. But it seems as though Jews never got full satisfaction since Germany was not totally destroyed. If anything, Germany rose from the ashes of WWII all too quickly. So, Jews have been fixing their vengeful rage at the entire white race. They witch-hunt for ‘anti-Semites’ everywhere. And they also smear Muslims, Arabs, and Palestinians as the ‘New Nazis’. During the Cold War, as the USSR turned anti-Zionist, many Jews saw Russia as the new Nazi state. Of course, vengefulness as the mode of existence in nothing new among Jews. They’d mastered it over thousands of yrs. Their God said, ‘Vengeance is Mine’. And the Messiah that the Jews awaited was to be a Vengeful Warrior who would mercilessly destroy and kill all enemies of Jews. This is why no sane person should ever trust Jews. There’s hateful guile behind the Jewish smile. And not all Jews may be conscious of this as the Jewish personality is the product of Jewish genetics. A man like Noam Chomsky was born with the Jewish personality.)

In a way, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and GONE WITH THE WIND may have been appealing to a lot of people for the same reason that THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY was. Though LAWRENCE OF ARABIA was a hit, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO was a much bigger hit, and why? Because of the interesting dichotomy between the romantic poet and the bloody history. Zhivago is not an action hero but neither is he a historical hero like T. E. Lawrence or El Cid. He wants to practice medicine, fall in love, and write poetry. But he is dragged into history that rages all around him. He has control over medicine and poetry; he may not have control of his romantic passions, but they belong to him alone. But he has no control over the war and revolution raging around him; he is forced to be a spectator and servant of world-shaking events. And yet, these obstacles to his romanticism and poetic leanings paradoxically lend greater meaning to his personal life for tragedy has a way of deepening the meanings of things and the value of all that has been lost. Zhivago can only reclaim all that he’s lost through dreams, art, and imagination. As for GONE WITH THE WIND, it too has a self-obsessed character who becomes swept up in history, which makes it all the more absurd, amusing, and entertaining. If Scarlet O’Hara cared more about the South than herself, she would have been a participant in history. But she often plays against history and vice versa, and it’s this mad reluctant dance between the narcissistic individual and the larger historical forces that made the story so endearing to movie audiences everywhere — though I’ve never been able to sit through it from beginning to end. It is THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY for the gals. Scarlett may be selfish and vain, but there’s a kind of heroism in her flaws because they invigorate her to keep fighting for her own individuality at a time when most people are bending to the will of history. Before, during, and after the war, Scarlett tries to have everything her own way, and as vain and shallow as she may be, she is the one who maintains an undying faith in herself, in the power of the individual. Even with her heart broken after Rhett Butler’s departure, she says, “Tomorrow will be another day.” If shallowness can be heroic, it’s to be found in GONE WITH THE WIND — and I suppose ATLAS SHRUGGED.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA is also big on movie-consciousness. In the opening part of the movie, we see Noodles smoking a pipe in an opium den. He’s in a movie of his own private dreams in a movie that we are watching. Later, we see Noodles peeking through a hole in a washroom at the young dancing Debra. Actually, the scene is like double-voyeurism for it begins with old Noodles peeking into the past followed by young Noodles peeking at dancing Debra; it’s triple voyeurism if we consider that Debra knows she’s being watched, and so, she peeks at the peeker. ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA is different from most gangster movies for it’s about peripheral hoodlums caught up in the power games of much bigger forces. Generally in traditional gangster movies, the small-time crook makes his moves to reach the top, rises (too)fast, and then falls even quicker. Or gangster films can be about big guys playing the big game, like the powerful families in THE GODFATHER movies. ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA has essentially minor crooks — though Max, Noodles, and their pals save up a nice pile of cash, they are more hired killers than guys calling the shots — serving big-time crooks(most of whom we never see). Max wants to join the game of big stakes power, but Noodles wants to keep it small and personal(than ‘political’). Thus, he has to be the oddest and most atypical gangster character in movie history. He can be ruthless and do his share of killings, but as often as not, he’d rather be a passive spectator or small-time player than join in the fray. Besides, his main passion in life was Debra, the loss of whom has deflated his ambition in life. So, it’s as though he’s sitting behind us in the theater than playing his role in the movie.

This dichotomy of being an active participant/player and passive spectator/voyeur is a major feature of Kurosawa’s films. And if some people tend to be active players while others prefer to be passive spectators, some people might fall into the category of ‘active spectators’. Sanjuro is oftentimes an active spectator. He watches from a remove/distance to gain a better picture of the conflict so as to re-enter the game and play with his superior knowledge. He may also be called a passive participant for even when he take sides, he does so without true loyalties.
The dynamic of participating vs watching is strikingly illustrated in RASHOMON with its multiple layers of spectator-ship and meanings. At the beginning of the movie, we the audience identify with the man seeking shelter from the rain, the guy who, at the end, steals clothes from the abandoned baby. What he and we have in common is having absolutely no knowledge of what happened in the forest(and as to why the woodcutter and priest are so sullenly distraught). The wood-cutter and the priest know something about the terrible event that had taken place. And it is through the accounts pried from the woodcutter and priest by the man-seeking-shelter-from-the-rain that we gradually come to know the nature of what may have happened with the bandit-samurai-and-wife. We remain uncertain as the accounts of the event vary among the participants/witnesses. Thus, even the clear distinction between participant and spectator is subverted. The bandit, the samurai, and the woman were all involved in the event, but each says he or she saw something entirely different. What the did and what they saw seem to belong to different universes. And, given that much of the story is recounted by the woodcutter or the priest, there is another layer of spectator-ship; thus, we don’t know how reliable they are in their recounting of their own testimonies and those of the bandit, the woman, and the slain samurai(communicated through a shaman, another ‘spectator’ of sorts; we don’t know how truthful the shaman or shamurai is either). Though we modern people don’t believe in shaman-mediums, the larger meaning of RASHOMON could be that all stories are like ghost stories since time buries everything. No matter how truthful something might be, once it happened, it happened and can’t be relived or recovered as fact. So, the truth is no less alive than the lie for everything equally fades with time. And in that sense, all acts of recounting the past is like an act of shamanism for we are drawing from the permanently dead past something that is gone and buried forever.

The problems of spectator-ship and participation-ship may have been acutely on Kurosawa’s mind because of the moralist/humanist element of his approach to art. Though Kurosawa made films for entertainment and/or art, he also wanted his films to change the world, or at least one’s view of the world. But can the world really be changed by making movies? No matter how well-intentioned or sincere an artist’s commitment to truth and justice, is he really participating in the world or merely serving as a voyeur/spectator and encouraging others to do likewise, indeed even giving the false illusion that the world has been improved because a movie about its problems have been made and seen. Consider films like IKIRU and BAD SLEEP WELL. Both deal with corruption at different levels of Japanese society, but did they really make a difference? Was making a movie about such social problems the same as really doing something to improve society? Isn’t it rather too easy — morally if not creatively — for artists to point to problems without really doing anything to change them? Wasn’t Kurosawa, like so many artists, more like Gonji the restaurant owner than Sanjuro, the active agent of change? Gonji looks at the dealings of the town and bitterly details all the rottenness, but he doesn’t do anything about it. Artists, like Gonji, point out all the problems but leave it up to OTHERS to actually do the problem-fixing. On the other hand, isn’t spreading awareness a kind of active participation in fixing the world? Before people act, they must know, and if artists and other creative people spread awareness of the problems of the world, haven’t they done something? There is no easy answer, and so, the many heroes of Kurosawa exist in a kind of shadow world filled with ambiguities and anxieties. The character of BAD SLEEP WELL works as both participant and spectator. He secretly moves pieces on the chess board — his subversive form of participation in the game — , but he stands back, pretends not to know anything about it, and watches as a spectator of events unfolding around him. He’s the trigger of many of the events but pretends indifference and ignorance. Perhaps, this aspect of secrecy and two-facedness was appealing to Kurosawa since Japanese society was repressive, stifling, deceitful, and deceptive. The only way to get things done in such a society was to stealthily play the game even while pretending to be earnestly devoted to the placid facade.
Of course, stealthiness is appealing to all narrative artists because most stories require the artists to imagine how the world seems and feels to other people. In reality, while we can surmise — often correctly — what others are feeling and thinking and why, there is no way to be sure about realities other than our own. Every person is trapped in his or her own reality. Thus, the only truly honest form of narrative is the ‘I’ narrative — though one can make the case that even the self is a mystery to oneself. After all, which is closer to the truth of what a person is? The ‘I’ or the ‘you’? Every person has a sense of his or her own reality and a sense of his or her own self, the ‘I’. But this sense of self may not agree with how others may see that person, the ‘you’. A fat person may prefer to see himself or herself as less fat than he or she is by all sorts of visual and/or mental sleights, whereas another person might look at him or her and think, “fat pig.” Also, how a person’s voice sounds to himself or herself is different from how it sounds to another person. So, which voice is the true voice of the person? The voice that he or she hears inside his or her head or the his or her voice heard by other people? Or a person might consider himself or herself to be stylish and sophisticated while another person might see that person as pompous and foolish. Furthermore, different people have different opinions of any particular person. Some people might see Lars von Trier as an intelligent artist and a fine human being, while others — with more sense — might see him as an idiot, a clod, and an insufferable buffoon.
Anyway, each person is only stuck inside his or her mind and cannot truly access the minds of others. The most we can do is speculate and guess at what others are feeling and thinking. Thus, almost all works of narrative fiction are lies since the storyteller pretends to enter in and out of the minds of different peoples and know what they’re really thinking. Fiction allows storytellers to pretend to enter into other people’s minds by creating those people as ‘characters ‘ in the first place. If one is writing a non-fiction narrative or story, one isn’t so free to assume what his subjects may have really thought and felt. Such speculations must be stated as speculations. But in fiction, the artist can pretend to have the power to move in and out of private realms of the minds and hearts of other people. This is why REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO make interesting contrasts. In the former, Hitchcock establishes a clear physical distance — that also serves as a psychological distance — between the main character and the people(across the courtyard) whose lives he peeks into. Because the objects of voyeurism remain ‘over there’ across the courtyard, we are always made aware of the limitations of narrative fiction. We can surmise what is going on in the lives, minds, and hearts of the characters across the yard, but we can never be really sure. And yet, there is something in us that wants to connect the dots and form complete narratives out of incomplete ones, and in the process, we are as likely to be wrong as correct. Most viewers thought the young blonde bimbo to be a hussy, but it turns out that she’s loyally in love with a dweeby returned soldier — but then, maybe she is a hussy after all and putting on an act with her as she’d done with other men. Or, maybe she is both a hussy AND truly in love with her dweeby soldier boy. We would never know.
In contrast to REAR WINDOW, VERTIGO dissolves the distance between subjectivity and objectivity to the point where we lose sight of who is who or what is what. Scotty becomes intimately entwined with the object of his voyeurism, and they fall into a spiral; and when, Scotty meets Judy, she falls into his spiral. In a way, we don’t want Scotty to find out the truth about the woman because our feelings too have been sucked into the lovesick whirlpool. For starters, Hitchcock already informed us via flashback that Judy was ‘Madeline’, and so we know what Scotty doesn’t know. What we know is Scotty loves ‘Madeline’ and Judy loves Scotty(who loved her as ‘Madeline’, a woman that Judy both wants to be to regain Scotty’s love and wants to be rid of for ‘Madeline’ stands between herself and Scotty; the odd paradox of their relationship is that ‘Madeline’ is both the bridge and wall that stands between Scotty and Judy. If not for ‘Madeline’, Scotty wouldn’t have asked Judy out to dinner. But it’s because of his desire for ‘Madeline’ that he cannot accept Judy as Judy. He can only love Judy in disguise. Interestingly, though Scotty is the active agent in trying to turn Judy into ‘Madeline’, the second part of movie is essentially seen and felt through Judy’s eyes for she knows more than he does. A strange kind of voyeurism is going on, that is if we expand the meaning of ‘voyeurism’. If voyeurism means secretly or privately seeing someone/something that shouldn’t be seen or hidden to most people, then an artist is a natural voyeur. A great sculptor sees in a rock what most others cannot see. Most people see just a rock, but the artist ‘voyeurs’ the semblance of a beautiful female or male figure; and he carves or exposes from the rock the hidden form of beauty that only his gifted eyes had been privy to. Thus, one might say Scotty is a kind of voyeur with Judy. She is the rock out of which he will carve, reveal, and expose ‘Madeline’. He sees in her something that no one else can see — though one can argue that the evil husband saw it before Scotty for he was the one who first turned Judy into ‘Madeline’; thus, there is a unwitting identification of Scotty and the husband; and both end up with a woman falling from their arms from atop the bell tower, though one was an act of murder while the other was an accident. It’s almost as if Carlotta’s ghost really does exist and haunts their lives; ghosts, even if untrue, are true if one believes in their power. Judy too is a voyeur for she secretly knows and sees through Scotty’s intentions but keeps her knowledge hidden. She looks into his heart and knows what motivates him, but she plays innocent and leads him on even as she resists his ‘Madeline’ madness.)
REAR WINDOW is Hitchcock at his most precise, rational, calculating, and sober. The James Stewart character has no emotional ties to anyone across the courtyard — except when Grace Kelly goes over to the apartment of the murderer, but then, even as she’s being attacked by the wife murderer, Stewart whimpers and says nothing as if maintaining his secrecy is more important than saving his girl by shouting out the window and calling for help — , and he uses his logic and reason to the fullest to ferret out the truth. In VERTIGO, though Scotty is originally hired to keep a watch on ‘Madeline’, the distance dissolves between them when ‘Madeline’ jumps into water, whereupon he dives in also. At that moment, they become one in their wetness, especially as he later removes her clothes in his apartment so she could sleep comfy. There’s a similarity between Stewart diving into ‘save’ ‘Madeline’ in VERTIGO and his diving into ‘save’ Clarence in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Both ‘Madeline’ and Clarence are faking it. Both are drawing the Stewart character into a kind of trap: ‘Madeline’ at the behest of an evil rich guy plotting to murder his wife and Clarence at the behest of Heavenly figures who wanna save George Bailey from himself. Granted, George Bailey doesn’t fall for Clarence even though the old angel gets naked to change out of his wet clothes, but then Bailey isn’t a fruiter. But Bailey does fall into a kind of mad vertigo of his own through Clarence’s angel tricks pulled with devilish deviousness.
Though REAR WINDOW is as great a film as VERTIGO, that the latter has won more accolades — and a more obsessive following — is a testament to the power of the irrational over the rational in art. REAR WINDOW has a neat ending, with everything and everyone falling in their rightful places, allowing us to leave the movie theater happy and smiling.
VERTIGO is something else. Even as we discover what really happened, there is no resolution. It keeps us clinging to the lie that existed between Scotty and ‘Madeline’/Judy. Something is truly mad when even the knowledge of the truth cannot lift the fog of madness. It’s like the kid in A.I. cannot lose his obsession over his mother even when he discovers he’s a robot and his ‘mother’ wasn’t really his mother. He was programmed to be that way by scientists, but then he was programmed to be ‘as human as possible’, and so his obsession is a rationally created form of madness modeled on human irrationality in a rational laboratory headed by a man of rational science whose agenda is fueled by irrational hangups over his son’s death. It’s like science has come full circle. Initially meant to help humans become more rational, it has allowed man to create another version of man just as irrational — indeed even more irrational, but consistently and logically so — than man is. (The final part of A.I. is also strangely jarring for its blend of affirmation and annihilation. We see the boy reuniting with his ‘mother’ and spending the happiest day of his life. The room they share together is aglow with golden sunlight. Yet, it’s also the color of twilight, and the reunion is only for one day. And it’s happening in a world where humans and robots like David no longer exist — indeed haven’t existed for thousands of years — , and indeed, the whole thing could be happening purely inside the mind of David as he’s being ‘put to sleep’. It’s simpler to see sadness as sadness and happiness as happiness, but the blend of the two almost causes our emotional barometer to break De Sica’s UMBERTO D. achieves something similar. Had it ended with a poor man with no place to stay, that would simply have been sad. Instead, we see his dog, ever innocent, ever trusting, and ever playful. It’s affirmation in the face of annihilation.) There is something of rational-irrationalism in VERTIGO as well. Scotty goes about the most meticulous, methodical, and rational way to recreate ‘Madeline’, but he’s driven by his irrational obsession.
VERTIGO speaks to many moviegoers because they’ve all felt Scottitis upon leaving the theater after a movie that they found especially moving came to an end. They became one with the film in the dream palace of the movie theater, and so, it’s almost traumatic to have the movie end(die) and to have oneself be exiled back to reality. In their wish to return to the movie — a kind of magical scene of the crime — , they become like Scotty who, upon losing ‘Madeline’, wishes to see her again, even if he has to recreate her. Some people want the watch the movie over and over, each time revisiting the dream they’ve become obsessed with. And some even become filmmakers and want to remake the movie of their dreams, just like Scotty tried to remake ‘Madeline’.

Anyway, even though creating fictional narratives allow artists to freely enter the minds of their characters, it’s not as simple as all that. Most narrative artists don’t really know their characters very well, and they create characters in order to participate in the process of character developing themselves. It’s like giving birth to a child and watching it grow. The parent has control but never total-control, and as the child grows older, he has his own agendas. Similarly, creating a character is like birthing an idea that eventually takes on a life of its own, even if it remains inside the mind of the author. This process is paradoxical since fictional characters don’t exist except as what their creators make them. But artists cannot fiddle with characters anyway they wish. Characters of genre fiction have to conform to certain conventions, and characters of serious literature must reveal something true about life; and characters of experimental literature must wind through newly established mazes.
Storytellers wanna believe in the ‘reality’ of their characters. For the characters to gain complexity as something more than stick figures, they must have(or be allow to develop) their own psychologies and individualities. If artists oversaw and commanded every aspect of the characters, characters would be reduced to puppets, which were what the characters of RED BEARD and DODES’KADEN perilously came close to becoming. So, the narrative process is a kind of self-induced form of controlled schizophrenia where the artist develops a kind of multiple-personality syndrome. The artist must not only pretend but sort of convince himself or herself that he or she is seeing, feeling, and thinking through different peoples with separate psychologies. It is a mind game. It’s like playing solitaire where one hides the cards from oneself in order to be surprised by the outcome. If all the cards were flipped at once, there would be no game. Narrative fiction is also like a game of one-person chess where the person plays both sides with the sincere wish to win for both sides. He plays his best for both whites and blacks. (In a way, it comes almost naturally to us to create fictional characters with ‘minds’ of their own. The human mind is such that once a person thinks of something, it instantly takes on a life of its own. Thus, so much of creativity is natural, subconscious, and intuitive than artificial, conscious, and willed. For a thought-experiment, picture a white mouse inside your head. Even if you think of nothing but ‘white mouse’, it will almost immediately begin to move and act according to its own whim. The mouse inside of your imagination might start hopping about, nibbling on crackers, sniffing objects, etc. even if you didn’t consciously order or command it to do so. Of course, you can consciously control the mouse by thinking, ‘white mouse meets snake’, ‘white mouse sleeps’, ‘white mouse dies in mouse trap’, ‘white mouse runs from cat’, ‘white mouse think it is hilarious that a mountain-sized Negro loves it so much’, etc. But even if the only thought in your mind is ‘white mouse’, it starts moving on its own; it is naturally animated in the mind. As there might be ‘universal grammar’, there is ‘universal ani-motion’. If a mouse can do that in your mind, imagine what a fictional human character, with all his or her complexities, could do. This is why so many filmmakers and writers say their stories begin with a single image or idea, which then grow and expand of its own accord while the artist ‘follows’ it through the maze of its own making. Of course, I doubt if any story was ever created purely ‘naturally’, with the artist just following the character or idea in his or her mind. Conscious input and shaping of the material are always an essential element in creativity. On the other hand, it would be equally difficult to imagine how any story could have been created entirely ‘artificially’, with the artist consciously crafting every aspect and detail of the story. The mind simply doesn’t work that way. Once an idea or character is created, it begins to grow and expand of its own accord and search and connect with other ideas and almost spontaneously created newer characters. This is also true of any word. Think of and hold any word in your mind, and your mind freely makes associations and develops into thoughts or imagery, and then it grows and grows further. Different minds are irrigated and channeled differently, and so different associations and extensions will be made by different minds, but it’s almost impossible to hold a single static/still image or idea in one’s mind. As they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words — and a word is worth a thousand pictures. Music works very much the same way. I doubt if any musician ever composed an entire work by consciously thinking of each note separately. Instead, he will start with a musical idea in his head, and it will naturally and intuitively grow into a melody and then be surrounded by harmony and then interweave with other melodies, and so on. Creativity may be something like fishing: Fishes are the intuitive and natural sources of creativity, the elements with a will/mind/life of their own. They exist in the subconscious, and highly creative people are teeming with them, at least while the muse is on their side. This is why some musicians say they feel almost obsessed and haunted by musical ideas. Even when they want to rest and take it easy, musical ideas/fishes keep swimming all over them, and some of them are so alluring that they feel a need to go on fishing for them, which is why some of them stay up all night trying to catch the fish. But to fish them out of the water, one needs great fishing skills, which is where the consciousness comes in. Someone like Beethoven not only had lots of fishes in his head but superb skills to fish them out with spear and net. Some people have superb fishing skills but not much fish, and they tend to make better critics and scholars than artists. They need to fish from the waters of artists because their own waters are short of fish. This is why some of the best film and literary critics would never make great artists. They are richer in conscious thought/understanding than subconscious inspiration. On the other hand, some people — especially musicians — may be brimming with fish but not have the best fishing skills. When the muse is powerfully with them, they can make great music because the fish is so abundant. It’s like, during prime salmon season, any brown bear can catch tons of fish in Alaska. But when the salmon supply diminishes, the bear needs to superb fishing skills to keep catching the fish. This may be why some rock stars seem to be on top of the world at one time but then seem to have lost it all later. When the muse — perhaps through the aid of drugs — was with them, the music just came to them; the fishes leapt onto their laps. But when the fishes ran dry — not least because of the burnout effects of too much drugs — , they didn’t have much fish left, and they didn’t have the fishing skills to keep catching the fish. It is the rare artist that has both lots of fish and superb fishing skills, and these artists tend to have long careers. Even as their fish supply runs short, their superb skills as fishermen keep catching the fish. Their conscious understanding of their craft is such that they know where to look to keep pulling the fish out of the water even as the fish supply diminishes. Norman Mailer once said he was brimming with ideas as a young writer, but he continued as a writer in old age because he came to understand the craft better. His intuitive drive had waned but his intellectual understanding had grown, or less fish but better fisherman. In cinema, perhaps Kubrick and Welles had the greatest fusion of fishes and fishing skills. Even when working with low budgets and all sorts of production problems, Welles made remarkable films. And Kubrick was ahead of the game even with his final film. The expansive nature of the mind reflects the conquer-istic way of life itself. Notice how a single image or idea in the mind grows and grows, expands and try to ‘take over’ the mind. It’s the way of life to expand, spread, dominate, and conquer. If it weren’t for this fact, life would not have taken over the entire globe, from North Pole to South Pole. There’s life even in the deepest oceans, in the coldest arctic regions, in the hottest deserts. Life must go everywhere. A small batch of bacteria or fungus will grow out of control in no time. Without such conqueristicness, breads and wines wouldn’t be possible. It’s because yeasts want to conquer the flour and grapes that breads and wines are made. Fishes conquered every corner of the ocean. Birds and insects conquered the skies over all five continents and ever across the oceans. Mammals spread out over every land mass. A small group of hominid folks that evolved in one small corner of Africa took over all of Africa, and then, as proto-humans and as humans, they ventured out of Africa and conquered all five continents, even Australia. So, when some people wonder, “why did the West conquer the world?”, they are either being stupid or naive. White folks did it because they are living creatures, and it’s in the nature of living creatures to conquer as much as possible. Since white folks came up with the technology that made it possible, they did it. They were following the Way of Life. Does it make sense to ask a virus or bacteria, “why do you keep spreading all over?” Consider that Bantu Africans originated in a small part of Africa but then pretty much spread out all across sub-Saharan Africa. Consider how a small ethnic tribe called the Han came to conquer and dominate much of East Asia. Look at the Ancient Persians, the Greeks and Macedonians, the Romans. Consider the Mongols. Look at the Zulu empire. They were all being conqueristic. But for some reason, white imperialism got tagged as especially evil for trying to conquer the world. If that was evil, then blame the Way of Life itself. Life has been imperialistic since its inception. It’s been wanting to spread, expand, and conquer, which is why there’s so much of life all over the globe. This is true of plants as well as animals. Plants seem peaceful and passive, but trees drop tons of seeds, and flowers release tons of pollen all over. Plants are ruthless competitors. And so are insects. So, white folks were only acting conqueristic according to the Way of Life in their imperialistic drive. There was nothing unnaturally or exceptionally ‘evil’ about it. And the process goes on today, albeit in a different form. Though the West generally doesn’t drop bombs and invade other nations anymore — Iraq and Libya notwithstanding — , the Jewish cabal that owns the West uses finance, high-tech, mass media, and threat of US/NATO military to control much of the world. Human ideas and values, as extensions and expression of the Way of Life, are also imperialistic and conqueristic in wanting to spread out as much as possible. One doesn’t need naked violence to use a form of violence. If violence means using force to take control of another, then Jewish control of the global media is a form of violence. With Jewish money, connections, and expertise, Jews buy up or conquer media outlets all over the world and then use the media to conquer the minds of people everywhere. We tend to see the media as something WE use for information and news, but it’s more accurate to see the media as something the JEWS use to conquer, control, and dominate our minds. Why hold a gun to someone’s head when you can hold a TV to his head and gain even greater control over him? A gun to someone’s head may yield $100, but a TV to someone’s head can yield his soul. An armed robber cannot make someone support Zionism, interracism, illegal immigration, and ‘gay marriage’, but a TV executive can. Since conqueristicness is the Way of Life, one could argue that what Jews are doing is actually natural. But if one aspect of life is conqueristicness, the other aspect is defendisticness. Viruses and bacteria want to conquer us, but we have antibodies to deal with them. In some cases, life settles for something between conqueristicness and defendisticness. Think of bacteria that our bodies have allowed to conquer us since we need them for survival. Our intestinal tracts need certain bacteria to break down foods, and without them, we would die. The thing about Jews is that they are both like deadly viruses and necessary bacteria. So much of the modern world wouldn’t function properly without the skills and talents of the Jewish bacteria, but there’s also a virus-like subversiveness about Jewish power.)

Anyway, as an artist, Kurosawa readily understood the way of the voyeur, the spy, and the schizophrenic via the vicarious and imaginative space of movies. In a way, watching Kurosawa’s films is like watching the creative process in action. Just as Kurosawa pried into the hearts and minds of his characters, many of his main characters fiddle and fumble for keys into the lives and worlds of others. Thus, it’s fitting that KAGEMUSHA is about both a lord and a thief. Kurosawa was known, for a time at least, as the ‘emperor’ of Japanese cinema, but as an artist, he also worked as a thief prying into the (imagined)lives and worlds of others. So, the thief in KAGEMUSHA gains access to the secretive and secluded world of the Takeda clan. The lowest member of society enters the highest sanctum of power in Japan. This process is meticulously detailed but also like a fantasy. He’s in the real seat of power but as a ‘shadow warrior’ playing the late lord, as a puppet. Though he becomes deeply attached to the Takeda clan, he’s an outsider and a fake, and eventually exiled when no longer useful. Though the kidnapper is clearly an evil character in HIGH AND LOW, we can’t help feeling that, on some level, he is Kurosawa’s alter ego and a means by which Kurosawa exercised his own demons. Not that Kurosawa ever wanted to kidnap some kid and hold him for ransom. But the fact that Kurosawa thought so highly of Dostoevsky suggests that he too may have been tempted by the anarchic freedom of nihilism. Though Dostoevsky’s works have a Christian message, it is less important(to their status as great works) than the temptations of the nihilism of power. Despite his wickedness, the kidnapper in HIGH AND LOW is the freest character in the story, and one might say he’s also the most creative, the most artistic-and-bohemian-like. Where he differs from an artist like Kurosawa is his lack of sympathy for others. He’s clearly intelligent and curious, someone who’s been around and seen lots of things. He aims high to be a doctor but also has contacts among drug dealers, American G.I.s, and others. He’s a smooth operator; at one point, he even has the audacity to walk up to Kingo Gondo(Mifune) and ask for a light for his cigarette. Like the thief in KAGEMUSHA, he slips in and out of both the Low realm and the High realm. But in the end, he has no feeling for anything but himself, and even his curiosity comes down to how to play the world for his own self-aggrandizement. Freedom and individuality are all very well, but one cannot expect the whole world to revolve around onself. A person needs to be productively connected with the world and believe in the higher good. It could be building a playground for children(IKIRU), using necessary evil to destroy evildoers in the name of higher justice(YOJIMBO), maintaining loyalty to a clan(KAGEMUSHA or RAN), or whatever, but to live just for one’s own glory — as in THRONE OF BLOOD or HIGH AND LOW — is a dead end. Of course, the thief comes to a bad end at the end of KAGEMUSHA, but his death was still not meaningless. He lived and died for something other/bigger than himself. On the other hand, the danger of ‘living for something higher than oneself’ is the servility, the loss of freedom, and lack of individuality; and Kurosawa was well aware of this problem of Japan. In the end, we might say there’s something noble about the thief’s death at the end in KAGEMUSHA — in some ways nobler than the deaths of the Takeda warriors — because he freely chose to die for the clan. Clan warriors were raised to fight and die for the clan without question. There was no individuality or thought involved. They had no choice. They were like ants and bees working according to the program. But the thief, as an individual, genuinely came to appreciate and love the clan he served. Upon being exiled, he could have freely gone elsewhere and lived as a free man, but he has come to love the clan, and he’d rather die with it than live. But then, how sensible was his choice? Did he fall under the spell of the clan and its late great lord just like Scotty fell under the spell of ‘Madeline’? A form of sickness for which there was no cure?

IKIRU is interesting in relation to the dynamic of spectator/participant. When the film opens, Watanabe(the old cancer victim played by Takeshi Shimura) is like a spectator of life. He silently works at his office and shuffles paper like any other colorless bureaucrat; he actively participates in nothing. He’s just going through the motions and waiting for retirement. To be sure, he isn’t much of a spectator of life either. He looks around and sees only what he needs to see. But upon discovering that his days are numbered, he tries to open his eyes and become a wide-eyed spectator of life. He tries to take in all the neon lights and night life of Tokyo, but all such vicarious excitement are mere distractions that do him no good. Finally, he decides to become an active participant in life, but then the film immediately switches to his funeral where he becomes the object of speculation by others — mostly co-workers — as spectators. The man for whom the meaning of life was a mystery — and with whom we grew so intimate, seeing through his eyes and ears in the first half of the movie — becomes himself a mystery to other people. This second half of the films works on two levels: WE know what the co-workers and his son don’t know(and this fact may make us feel somewhat superior to them), but then, as the film reveals the last moment of his life — Watanabe quietly singing while swaying on a swing in the snow — , we are humbled by other secrets of his life and realize the fact of our incomplete knowledge as well. (In a way, it is kinda amusing for the audience to think it knows more about a certain character than do the other characters involved in the character’s life. After all, even thought we something about Watanabe that his son or his co-workers do not, the fact remains that the son spent his entire life with his father, and his co-workers worked under him for many years. But it’s the nature of human perception to think it knows more of something or someone because it knows something that others do not. So, if some people know the 90% of a person that you don’t know while you know the 10% of the person that others don’t know, you may still think you know the person better than they do. IKIRU is just over 2 hrs, but the audience is likely to feel it knows more about Watanabe than do the people who spent many yrs with him. In some ways, it’s delusional and silly. But in another way, it really depends on WHAT one knows of a person. After all, people are mostly generic in the things they do: work, eat, sleep, watching TV, reading news, socializing with friends, talking the usual BS, and etc. So, the 90% of one person is hardly distinguishable from the 90% of another person. What truly distinguishes one person from another is not what he or she does most of the time but the secret that he or she keeps inside. Scotty in VERTIGO would be like any other San Francisco detective if not for his mad obsession. Thus, those who know of that obsession — even if they know nothing or very little of the rest of Scotty’s life — could be said to know him better than do the people who’ve worked with him for many years but know nothing of his obsession. So, every life has a generic/public side and a particular/private side. And having the key to the private side may offer more truth about that person even if it constitutes just a tiny part of his entire life. The appeal of fiction is it offers a glimpse into the private mailboxes, the Rosebuds, of others.)
We thought WE knew about Watanabe but what did we really know — just like what does anyone really know in RASHOMON? The snow scene in IKIRU reveals a part of Watanabe that can’t be summed up in conventional biographical terms. We were led to believe a man of no consequence, in the face of death, wanted to do something ‘bigger than himself’ and win recognition that he mattered. Throughout the funeral, the gripe is he wasn’t given due credit for turning a polluted dump into a playground. And yet, the scene in the snow implies Watanabe didn’t care one way or the other. He found his own peace and that’s all that matters. It’s perhaps one of the quietest and most understated instances of individualism in cinema. And maybe Watanabe wanted it that way, i.e. the true glory was private, and he didn’t want to share it with anyone. It was his Rosebud.

Dwight MacDonald dismissed THRONE OF BLOOD as having reduced Shakespeare to ‘cops and robbers’, and he had a point for Kurosawa mostly dispensed with the dialogue and emphasized the action and violence. But, in a way, Kurosawa purified Shakespeare’s play into expressionistic elements/forces of nature; it’s far from child’s play. And it works more powerfully than most films based on Shakespeare that remain slavish to the language. Cinema, like opera, works differently than plays. If words, in their descriptiveness and suggestiveness, can expand the space on the stage, ‘too many’ words can nibble away at the space on the screen. On the theatre stage, words reverberate. On the film screen, ‘too many’ words have a way of dicing and fragmenting spatial dimensions — and why go to such length to describe things when cinema can actually show them? MacDonald wanted the language of Shakespeare and didn’t care to be battered with the elemental sights, sounds, and fury of THRONE OF BLOOD.
But if MacDonald’s ‘cops-n-robbers’ characterization of Kurosawa’s stab at MACBETH wasn’t entirely fair, there was an aspect of violent gamesmanship in many of Kurosawa’s films, though more like hide-and-seek than cops-and-robbers. Kurosawa’s world is often filled with characters with much to hide at odds violently with other characters with much to seek. One side conceals and hides, while the other side tries to pry and peek; or the curiosity and distrust are mutual. While such gamesmanship is indeed the staple of many(or even most) stories, they register more powerfully in Kurosawa’s films because the tension between the Western-style individual at odds with the Japanese-style social stratums and barriers. This is especially noteworthy in KAGEMUSHA where the Takeda clan is under orders from the late lord to keep his death secret for three years. So, using the double, or ‘shadow warrior’, the Takeda clan maintains the facade of still being led by its legendary lord. Other clans, however, are suspicious and employ spies and all manner of tricks to pry the truth. Such secrecy and intrigue, usually prevalent in mystery stories or crime thrillers, are prevalent in Kurosawa’s films of all kinds. This is where IKIRU is different from most other films of the neo-realist mold. It’s not just about social morality, corruption, poverty, and need for social reform. It is about layers of secrets and doubts. The doctors lie to Watanabe and tell him he doesn’t have stomach cancer. Watanabe doesn’t tell his son that he’s dying of cancer. The workers at city hall are pretty useless but keep busy not doing much, or at least not much of any consequence. Part of the problem is Japan is not a very communicative culture where people can speak freely and share their views and opinions. Another problem is the shame involved in saying things that may disturb the peace. So, it’s not easy for the father to say he has cancer. It might disturb the peace with his son; and even if his son were to express grief, the father wouldn’t know how to respond to the grief. It might seem like he’s asking for pity; he wants pity but doesn’t want to come across as asking for pity. And the son wouldn’t know how to react to the news either, especially as so much of the emotion has to be held back in Japan. One way for Watanabe to feel open and free is to get drunk, but alcohol makes him even sicker. Later, when Watanabe decides to take up a cause, it might be embarrassing to reveal one’s personal motives for his change of heart. Japanese are not supposed to mix personal issues with professional issues. So, Watanabe has to keep the true nature of his good deed a secret. (And Sanjuro, though having done the noble deed of having saved a family — the woman held captive by the sake merchant and her husband and child — , keeps it a secret as though it’s bad form for a tough guy like him to do anything so sentimental. It’s as if there’s shame attached even to good deeds in the rigid world of Japan. Or consider the scene in SEVEN SAMURAI. Yohei the peasant discovers that the rice had been stolen in the night, and he and other farmer don’t know what they’ll do to feed the samurai. The young samurai tosses some coins at them and then turns away, as if he feels embarrassed to have acted out in compassion. Later, when Kyuzo the master swordsman sees the young samurai give his rice to a peasant girl, he says nothing about it. Doing good on a personal basis is perhaps considered egotistical in Japan. There is shame not only in individual badness but in individual goodness. Good or bad, it must be done together with communal approval.) And later, when the co-workers get drunk at Watanabe’s funeral and let out their spleen as they realize what a noble and courageous man Watanabe had been in the final chapter of his life, they pledge to change their ways and be like him from now on. But next day at work, it’s as if they’re all intuitively conspiring to pretend that nothing untoward had happened the day before, and so, they just go on as business-as-usual.

In the West, secretiveness and intrigue are active endeavors to attain something out of the ordinary, whereas in Japan, such modes of behavior/thought are built into the daily lives of most people since so much — that we in the West take for granted as part of daily communication — cannot be expressed freely. This is evident in a movie like SHALL WE DANCE. Even the fact that some guy is learning to dance has to be kept as the biggest secret of the century. And though Ozu’s films seem to be about ordinary people going about their daily lives, they’re wearing masks most of the time.
If many Japanese artists accepted and depicted the Japanese as they were, Kurosawa let loose greater tensions in his films with his ideal of humanistic dynamism — especially as expressed through Mifune — that couldn’t sit still with the conventional ways. Mizoguchi’s films were mostly about serving and suffering, and Ozu’s were about resigning and conforming; Kurosawa’s films were about rebelling and reveling, but since the rebel was up against great odds, he resorted to stealth and deception. (The films of Japanese ‘New Wave’ directors had more violence but less tension since their anarchic libertine-ism freely mocked all conventions. Kurosawa was a conservative rebel who believed in many of the values and virtues of Japan. He wanted to fix what needed to be fixed, not knock down every temple.) This is clearly evident in the opening scene of BAD SLEEP WELL. Mifune plays the dutiful secretary who is to marry the crippled daughter of his corporate boss. He’s almost Clark-Kent-like in his properness and good manners. He seems like an ideal worker, ideal son-in-law. But gradually, we learn he’s a powder keg about to explode. He fumes angrily about what the corporation did to his father — use him as a scapegoat to protect the company from scandal. But he’s also angry with himself for not having tried to understand his father, who visited him before committing suicide. The father, like Watanabe in IKIRU, couldn’t make himself tell the truth to his son, and the son, having realized the truth only too late, hides the secret — and even uses another man’s identity — to seek vengeance against the head of the corporation. The Japanese Way wasn’t devised to create an empire of lies but to create a social order of propriety and harmony, but the nature of power being what it is and the nature of the human heart being what it is, the Japanese Way turned into an Iron Harmony akin to the Iron Curtain of the soul. Most Japanese were blind to their sickness because the cult of harmony permeates everything in Japan. Thus, even a ton of lies is preferable to an ounce of truth if the former is more amenable to the requirement of ‘harmony’. (But then, with the rise of political correctness and Jewish control of law and media, the West also has come to favor lies over truth. Oddly enough, the name of the magic harmony in the West is called ‘diversity’, which is surreal considering that excessive and/or incompatible diversity generally leads to disunity and disharmony. Though Jews were generally on the side of ‘more truth over lies’ when they were challenging the Wasp-dominated order and gaining power, now that they have the power, Jews are more apt to say ‘noble lies’ are preferable to ‘dangerous truths’ if the former better serve the cause of ‘diversity’. Jews call for more diversity in the name of greater harmony, but since diversity is the natural enemy of harmony, Jews come up with more radical ways to enforce harmony on diversity, often premised on the notion that ‘white racism’ and ‘white hate’ are the main causes of disunity when, in fact, the problems of diversity originate mostly from blacks, illegal aliens, gays, Jews, and feminists for whom the new magic word is ‘Vagina’.)
Japan’s problem is that restrictions on free communication aren’t merely about WHAT is said but HOW it’s said. It’s not just about what you’re FOR but your FORM. Now, social form is necessary, and a society made up of sloppy manners make for sloppy thoughts as well. But a society where expressions are too rigidly formulated tends to produce too many people whose thought processes lack flexibility. Japanese forms of thoughts and behavior, instead of serving as mental supports, serve as mental iron-bars. Mizoguchi was well-aware of the prison-mazes of the Japanese mind, culture, and society. He knew that it was not easy for Japanese to be free agents or individuals in this kind of spiritual and social order. Thus, most of his films are about men and women learning to restrain themselves and move gracefully through all these restrictions. Even their attempts to escape from the system follow along certain constricted patterns of space and thought. As such, his films are less exciting and thrilling than those of Kurosawa, but they have deeper elements of grace, patience, and fineness lacking in Kurosawa’s films. There is in a certain Mizoguchi films a sense of moral outrage that challenges authority, but even the rebel-heroes generally seek the proper course of action. The son in SANSHO THE BAILIFF, for instance, gradually plots to bring the cruel-and-corrupt bailiff to justice without rebelling or upsetting the system as a whole. And in the films of Ozu, the characters accept Japan as a nation of toy boxes, and each does his or her best to play the proper doll in the dollhouse that is Japan. There is that side to Kurosawa too but also the explosive side. One of the key motifs of Kurosawa’s films is someone literally breaking through barriers, especially doors. At some point, certain Kurosawa’s characters — especially played by Mifune — will just about have had enough and can’t hold themselves back anymore. And if they manage to hold back their rage, they will work even harder and more consciously at intrigue to bring the system down. Sometimes, the motive will be noble or partly justified, like the anti-corporate conspiracy in BAD SLEEP WELL. But it could be also evil, as with the rebel-lord in THRONE OF BLOOD and the kidnapper in HIGH AND LOW. If some audiences found this aspect of Kurosawa exciting and compelling, others found it simple and vulgar, at least compared to the ‘finer’ and more graceful presentation of Japanese life by Mizoguchi and Ozu. Personally, I don’t go for a either/or argument regarding Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Ozu. I say long live the difference.
But, some Western critics of Kurosawa are under the spell of exoticism — as well as excessive fetish for formalism — and blind to full implications of the repressive aspects of Mizoguchi and Ozu’s expressions. Mizoguchi and Ozu were older artists than Kurosawa, therefore more in tune with traditional Japanese ways. Instead of rebelling against the system, they found ways around or between it. Thus, their films show the traditional structures/strictures of Japanese life while simultaneously maneuvering through/around them artfully. I’m not one to knock, under-appreciate, or degrade Mizoguchi or Ozu, but there is something to be said for Kurosawa’s dynamism that sometimes pushed against the strictures and walls of the Japanese Way and exploded with the full force of individuality. At his best, I don’t see Kurosawa’s style and expressions as simple, crude, or vulgar. They were human in their eagerness to break down the walls even at the cost of etiquette, fineness, and gracefulness. It’s like the scene in SEVEN SAMURAI when one of the peasants is terribly upset because his daughter slept with a samurai. The act was wrong by all the rules and etiquettes of the Japanese social order, and even the samurai are at a loss of words. But then, one farmer — Rikishi, the guy who’d lost his wife to the bandits — bursts forward and shouts out that the girl and the young samurai love one another(and besides, the girl wasn’t taken by the bandits). What Rikishi says isn’t remarkable in the Western context, but it is in the feudal Japanese context — and even in the social context of when the film was made — where people weren’t supposed to fall in ‘love’ based on individual affection. Also, even though people other than Rikishi understand and are willing to overlook what happened between the girl and the young samurai, they are too embarrassed to say anything. So, Rikishi’s outburst is truly extraordinary, and it finally brings closure to that scene. And it’s the kind of scene that is generally not found in the works of Mizoguchi and Ozu. Someone needed to express this side of emotions buried in the Japanese heart, and Kurosawa had the courage to do it. (How Rikishi saves the situation is similar to how Mifune’s character did so earlier when the samurai discovered that some farmers have armor and weapons pilfered from defeated samurai. In that scene too, there is much tense silence as the discovery of the farmers’ treachery has offended the samurai’s honor beyond words, with every samurai simmering with rage while the farmers cower in fearful dread. What saves the situation and indeed the whole enterprise is the screaming fit by ‘Kikuchiyo’, the bogus samurai who was really born a peasant. He violates all etiquettes of the Japanese, highborn or lowborn, and barks more like a dog than acts like a samurai or farmer — or even a bandit. But in his explosive outburst of emotions, he conveys a truth that most Japanese, samurai or farmer, are unwilling to speak. Samurai might flatter themselves as noble warriors fighting for a just cause, and the farmers like to think of themselves as good honest folks of the soil, but there is a bandit in everyone. Many samurai, with their privilege and power, have acted like bandits and mistreated farmers, and farmers, in their own way, have mastered their own dirty tricks and secrets either to survive or supplement their income. ‘Samurai’ and ‘farmer’ are social ideals, but people are always less – and more – than ideals, and the fullness of humanity can only be realized by individuals. And ‘Kikuchiyo’, for all his faults — and there are many — , could be said to be the one true free individual in the film for he is everything and nothing. He was born a farmer, is rough like a bandit, and aspires to be a samurai. He’s also a force of nature, and thus closest to the essence of human nature. And being a no man and every man, he’s become intimate with all three realms; he’s seen the highs and lows of life.) In a way, the reason why film scholars like David Bordwell and David Thomson tend to have a low regard for Kurosawa is because they are dorks and gimps. As intellectuals and academics, they prefer concepts, ideas, and manners to nature, emotions, and dynamics. Kurosawa’s films are simply too overpowering; they remind critics/scholars like Thomson and Bordwell of guys in school who won the admiration of boys and attention of girls with their show of stamina, endurance, will, and power. Thus, men such as Thomson and Bordwell came to disparage and discredit, for the sake of self-protection of their wussy boy egos, anything that smacked of immediacy and forcefulness; it’s the same reason dork boy Jonathan Rosenbaum doesn’t like Martin Scorsese’s movies and John Cassavetes’ HUSBANDS; he much prefers Cassavetes’ passively directed and acted THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE.
Favoring Mizoguchi and Ozu over Kurosawa for likes of Bordwell and Thomson is a really a way to justify their own beta-male-ness and holding it up as being of higher value than what passes for manhood among alpha-males. It’s like a guy in school who joins the sewing club because he’s no good at sports and then flatters himself that what he’s learning and doing is so much finer and more meaningful than what all those guys are on the baseball and football teams are doing. Now, if a guy wants to learn how to sew and do embroidery, I can see the value of that, but there is something rather pathetic about using it as a beta-male crutch and shield to elevate oneself above the student-athletes. So, most of this talk about Mizoguchi/Ozu vs Kurosawa isn’t really about the directors but about the silly critics and scholars who keep them going. While I can understand some people preferring Mizoguchi or Ozu over Kurosawa, I never understood the dismissive tone so common among certain critics, as if one has to like one director at the expense of the other instead of valuing them for different reasons. When Bordwell says he prefers Ozu so much more than the supposedly simple-minded Kurosawa, he’s not so much praising Ozu as flattering himself for having the finer beta-male tastes and insights that alpha-male simpletons into Kurosawa simply wouldn’t understand. There’s an element of preciousness in this kind of theoretic tales spun by Bordwell who always need some intellectual reasons to like or appreciate a movie. His book on Ozu is supposed to be a classic of sorts, but it’s all sterile theorizing that reads more like a book on formal logic than film art about life.

YOJIMBO is one of the boldest and most influential films in movie history by one of cinema’s true giants. Though its landmark status is secure, it seems to be a rather overlooked work in the current discussions of film history. And it is now remembered more for its influence on other directors than for its own merit. Though it may not be the most rewarding film for multiple viewing, it is filled with many moments of cinematic wonder, and it is leagues above most mindless action movies that pile on the violence without have nothing to say.
And no less important, for all its style, brashness, and flirtations with nihilism, it is a film of considerable moral conviction, a lesson forgotten by too many directors who followed in Kurosawa’s footsteps. Kurosawa’s commitment to moral seriousness owed a great deal to the world he grew up in. Though far from perfect — after all, it was the Japan that invaded China and rushed into WWII — , it was a world in which boys were expected to grow into men and wrestle with adult problems. As conveyed in SANSHIRO SUGATA, it was not enough for a man to be young and strong. He had to mature in both body and spirit. As a young man himself, Kurosawa made films on young male characters learning to be real men under the tutelage of older mentors in films like SANSHIRO SUGUTA and STRAY DOG. As an older director, he focused on older men imparting knowledge to younger men: the noble doctor in RED BEARD, the kindly elder in DODESKADEN, the old mountain man in DERSU UZALA, and the ruthless but wise lord in KAGEMUSHA. But Kurosawa didn’t necessarily believe age led to higher wisdom, a lesson to be found in RAN where the once great lord makes his biggest folly by thinking that his advanced years have filled him with great knowledge of the ways of the world; and the old man in MADADAYO, harmless and endearing as he is, is the source of much headache for those around him. And of course, old man in BAD SLEEP WELL is one of Kurosawa’s most villainous characters.
YOJIMBO may be seen as something of an anomaly and yet a key work in Kurosawa’s career for, more than any other film, it is the film that stands between ‘early’ Kurosawa and ‘later’ Kurosawa. It is not about old and young, not really even about good and bad. It conveyed the intense anxieties at the point when Kurosawa felt a need to break with the past and venture into uncharted territory that challenged and even unnerved his humanist assumptions. At the end of RASHOMON, the man who’d sought shelter from the rain, steals the baby’s clothes, exults in the freedom of nihilism, and dashes into an uncertain world. That was the kind of mind-set Kurosawa resisted and opposed through his films up through the 50s. But with YOJIMBO, he attempted something new and different. He invented a character that outwardly seems as brash, cynical, and uncaring as the wretched man in RASHOMON, and yet, in his own secretive way, is a noble character. This was a dangerous idea to pull off — and it still is. It seemed fresh and exhilarating at the time, indeed enough to make it a big hit and influential all over the world. Following YOJIMBO were SANJURO, a more ambiguous film, and HIGH AND LOW, an unsettling film lacking in moral clarity. And then, Kurosawa forswore the theme of nihilism altogether in subsequent films that range from didacticism to high tragedy to environmental message to personal memories/musings. Even so, after YOJIMBO, there was no going back for Kurosawa. His later films lost a certain ‘innocence’, and even in their search for truth and meaning, it was as if they were searching for what could never be reclaimed.

A Note about SANJURO, the sequel to YOJIMBO.

At first glance, SANJURO looks like YOJIMBO-lite and has long been overshadowed by the earlier film. It was more a labor of joy than labor of love for Kurosawa, a kind of filmmaking-as-vacation. Given the great success of YOJIMBO — the biggest hit in Japan up to that time — , it was a smart financial move to make a sequel. And since Kurosawa had already squeezed the meaning out of the first film, he approached the second movie more as a romp — more like an all-star game after the superbowl. It is neater and tidier, but those very qualities neutralize the Yojimbo myth. After all, Sanjuro, as introduced in the first film, was an outrageous figure in an outrageous world. He was the wolfman let loose into the subhuman zoo of pigs, foxes, and weasels. Sanjuro in YOJIMBO is in his elements, an ideal outlet for his outrageous and outraged view of man. In SANJURO, the same character is like a fish out of water in a social order that hems than frees his energies. Though his intuitive smarts and skills with the sword prove useful to the good guys — the nine idealistic young samurai — , his other traits can only go unappreciated in so finely manicured and mannered a world. So, if Sanjuro delightfully throws himself into the fray in YOJIMBO, a certain reluctance marks him throughout SANJURO. Sanjuro, the apocalyptic destroyer in the first film, finds himself playing with samurai Boy Scouts and increasingly fretting about the kill count. It’s like a wolf trapped in a nice house, ever so careful not to mess up the rug or break the china. If YOJIMBO is wild satire, SANJURO is almost like a comedy of manners or manhood. It is not a great movie like YOJIMBO.

Yet, in some ways, SANJURO is more interesting for its contradictions. And precisely because Sanjuro is less of a one-man-show he was in YOJIMBO, it is also more fun for repeat viewings. There’s more of an interplay between Sanjuro and other characters, and the plot is more complicated. It’s also funny as the BAD NEWS BEARS of samurai films, with Sanjuro as the reluctant coach of a bunch of youngsters who just don’t seem able to get their act together.

Though a lighter film than YOJIMBO, SANJURO is, in some ways, more sobering. Though YOJIMBO can stand on its own, SANJURO is most interesting in comparison to YOJIMBO. Most sobering is its consideration of violence and its implications. In the wild satirical world of YOJIMBO where most people were goblins, demons, beasts, or gargoyles, it didn’t matter if Sanjuro killed ten or twenty; rabid animals need to be put down. In contrast, the characters in SANJURO register fully as human, and so, it’s not so easy for Sanjuro to hack people to pieces. Though there are good guys and bad guys, they’re all presented as human; and they are members of respectable clans, not gangster ruffians. Though Sanjuro might actually kill more in SANJURO than in YOJIMBO, there’s a sense of disgust as the bodies pile up. In the final scene of YOJIMBO, there isn’t a sign of grief or remorse as the smiling Sanjuro looks around the town one last time before swaggering off to the raucous musical reprise. It’s like his sinuses have cleared up, and he can breathe freely again now that all the scumbags are dead. Not so in SANJURO. It’s possible that Kurosawa had second thoughts about the wild success of YOJIMBO — and the flood of imitations that immediately followed that kept raising body counts to ever more ridiculous levels.
In SANJURO, one way the audience is sobered up about violence is by having one of the bad guys be captured by the good guys. This particular ‘bad guy’ happens to be a lower-rung samurai who follows orders as members of his caste are supposed to. Sanjuro came within a hair’s breadth of killing him, but he was luckily spared — especially thanks to the entreaties of two well-born ladies rescued by Sanjuro and the Boy Scout samurai. Though used mainly for comic relief, the captured ‘bad guy’ reminds us that not all bad guys are bad. They are just ordinary men taking orders and doing as they are told. They know nothing about the evil conspiracy hatched by their masters and have nothing to gain from it. He serves as the human face of so many faceless bad guys who were mowed down in action movies before or since. In most action movies, we are never concerned about the individual identities of the ‘henchmen’ on the bad side. They are all tagged as bad and deserving-to-die since they work for the big bad guys. So, when the hero in a John Woo movie mows down hundreds of bad guys, we never for an instance wonder who they are. We just enjoy the spectacle of bloodbath in the glib conviction that our good guy is killing all those bad guys. SANJURO throws a monkey wrench into this formulation because the ‘bad guy’ whose life is spared actually turns out to be rather likable and decent. And upon learning of the conspiracy, he’s eager to help the good guys.
Though we know that the real world is not so simple as a case of good guys vs bad guys — indeed we constantly remind ourselves of the danger of the ‘us versus them’ mentality — , we have no problem seeing fictional worlds that way. We love to root for the good side and don’t care how many on the bad side get killed; if anything, we lean on the crutch of moral certitude to revel in the bloody mayhem. But in SANJURO, because of our growing attachment to the captured ‘bad guy’ who turns to be a pretty decent sort, we have second thoughts about Sanjuro slashing men left and right — even if the fallen are supposed to be bad. What if other ‘bad guys’ are rather like the captured ‘bad guy’? Maybe they too are decent sorts who don’t know that they’re serving evil bosses. Sanjuro himself seems to have a growing awareness of this moral dilemma. If in YOJIMBO, he tried to maximize the number of deaths, he tries to minimize the body count in SANJURO, but to no avail.
This isn’t to suggest necessarily that SANJURO is a rebuttal to or disavowal of YOJIMBO. The two films have the same main character but operate in different universes and in different comedic modes. YOJIMBO is like DR. STRANGELOVE, and SANJURO is kinda like SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT. But Kurosawa was clearly thinking about the nature of violence and morality in cinema.
SANJURO seems to say that whatever the moral justification for violence, there’s always the danger of violence becoming an addiction or the first resort in any crisis resolution. Indeed, this is what the woman tells Sanjuro — that killing is a bad habit. Though she sounds incredibly naive — and is indeed in some ways — , there is a kernel of truth to what she says. It is the nature of man to resort to whatever is easiest, but the easiest is not necessarily the wisest. Sanjuro has a good head as well as a fast sword, but he is too quick to resort to violence just the same. And though Sanjuro and the Boy Scout samurai did manage to save the good side against the bad side, Sanjuro wonders if he, in his overeagerness and impatience(and even in childish excitement), spilled unnecessary blood over a crisis that might have been resolved more peacefully. The woman says to him at one point that her husband is awful clever and experienced in finding himself out of problems, but Sanjuro and the Boy Scout samurai ignore her words and decide on their own course of action. They succeed in their mission but not without a whole bunch of people getting killed. Maybe the woman was correct, maybe not. Sanjuro will never know, but he knows that in his effort to win the day for the good side, he killed a lot of men who were themselves not evil. Given the levels of corruption across Japan, resorting to violence for every wrong would justify endless body counts in the name of winning one for the good side. Therefore, given the nature of man, perhaps it’s best to work through the compromises and corruption — and try to improve the world incrementally, step by step, as the old man attempted in IKIRU — than deal with the world in terms of good vs bad.
Sanjuro decided to help out the Boy Scout samurai became they seemed so idealistic and pure despite their naivete and ignorance. But by the film’s end, Sanjuro senses that idealism and purity are synonymous with naivete and ignorance. It’s for moral virgins who never mingled with the real world. To an extent, Kurosawa could have been commenting on radical youths who were beginning to stir things up in the early 60s. The world may be run by imperfect men, but it’s never as simple as ‘we pure good guys’ versus ‘those evil guys’, the view that came to prevail among radical youths in the late 60s around the world. Thus, Sanjuro comes to realize a certain hidden evil in goodness itself. It’s one thing to try to make the world into a better place, but it’s quite another to wage war on the world in terms of ‘we the pure good’ versus ‘them the pure evil’. Initially, Sanjuro tries to straighten the kids out by saying good doesn’t always look good & bad doesn’t always look bad. Good can look ugly, and bad can look handsome.
But the bigger lesson of SANJURO is that even the notion of ‘inner goodness’ is partly suspect. After all, the Boy Scout samurai seem to be good on the inside as on the outside. They are idealistic and willing to die for their cause. But that is the problem. Even without knowing about the full complexity of the world around them, they are unthinkingly willing to fight, kill, and die for the good. In a way, it was the mentality behind Japan’s entry into WWII. Most Japanese men who served in the military thought of themselves as good people fighting the good war. They felt no need to think since they were so sure of their own inner-goodness; and how were they sure of their goodness? Because of higher knowledge or much thinking? No, because they felt pureness in their hearts, as if pureness is sufficient to be truly good and useful in the world.
Though we like to flatter ourselves as so different from idiot Japanese who foolishly plunged into WWII, consider the mindless willingness of so many Americans to bomb the daylights out of Iraq because we are ‘good Americans’ and Iraqis are a bunch of lowlife ‘Muzzies’. Was it because Americans are evil? No, it was because our simple sense of righteousness assured us that we didn’t need to think much if at all. To think and fret about the implications of the war was deemed to be unpatriotic according to the neocon Zionists who pulled Bush’s strings.

In the end of SANJURO, Sanjuro is angry with everyone. He’s angry with the Boy Scout samurai because they continue to see the world in terms of simple good-and-bad. He’s angry at the samurai he killed in the final duel because there was much that was rare and impressive about the man. If the boy samurai are simple-minded in their goodness, the fallen samurai opted for simple badness even though he was much better than that. And Sanjuro is angry with himself because he got swept up in child-play(that led to lots of dead bodies) when perhaps the whole crisis could have been resolved more intelligently by adults. He felt mature in relation to the young samurai, but he came to feel childish in relation to the refined woman. And what is he doing playing with kids anyway?

Thus, an air of ambiguity envelops SANJURO. In the end, Sanjuro doesn’t even trust his own sermons to the Boy Scout samurai. He wanted the young men to think more critically and independently than rely on group-think, simple codes of honor, and blind loyalty to cause(no matter how noble it is assumed to be). But is individualism really the answer? The arch villain — played again by Tasuya Nakadai, the man with the pistol in YOJIMBO — is, after all, an independent-minded fellow. He’s smart, cuts through the BS, and thinks strategically. He maintains the facade of a honorable samurai, but he secretly works for himself as an individual. He is no less independent-minded than Sanjuro is, but that didn’t prevent his greed and corruption. On that note, SANJURO is a pretty bleak movie, even more so than YOJIMBO where the bleakness at least serves as a liberating rationale to kick butt. Sanjuro doesn’t want to destroy the world in SANJURO as he did in YOJIMBO. On the other hand, he doesn’t know how to save it either. (The strangest part of YOJIMBO comes right after Sanjuro mows down the bad guys in the last fight. Unosuke, mortally wounded, asks for a special favor from Sanjuro: To be allowed to hold his pistol in his final moment on earth. He assures Sanjuro the pistol is empty. Remarkably enough, the ever-so-cynical and suspicious Sanjuro grants this request to a coldly evil man on the basis of trust. It seems mad and maddening. Why did Sanjuro do it? Was there a residue of samurai honor that couldn’t deny a dying man his final request? Despite their antagonism, did Sanjuro identify with Unosuke — handsomer, tougher, and more intelligent than most people in town — to some extent? A kind of professional courtesy from one superior man to another? As it turns out, the pistol still has one more bullet, and Unosuke aims the gun at Sanjuro, but then shoots the last bullet into the ground. Did his aim fail out of weakness — as Unosuke claims — or did he spare Sanjuro on the basis of some residue of honor, as if to show he’s also capable of magnanimity? Unosuke says they’ll meet again in hell. Sanjuro says in a dismissive manner that Unosuke “died as recklessly as he lived”, but it could just as well apply to himself as well. It’s something Sanjuro is loathe to admit in YOJIMBO but something he realizes at the end of SANJURO.)

Finally, maybe Sanjuro realizes that he too has fallen for an illusion. Though he sermonizes to the young samurai not to judge things by appearance, why did he interfere to help out the young samurai? Because they are good boys with pure hearts? Perhaps. But could it also have had something to do with their being well-groomed and being from good families?
In YOJIMBO, Sanjuro surveyed people who looked like human refuse and decided they should die. In SANJURO, he looks at clean-cut samurai and decided to help them. While it’s true that the ugly looking men of YOJIMBO were indeed rotten scoundrels while the neat-and-clean-cut young samurai of SANJURO are well-meaning idealists, it is possible their appearances had something to do with Sanjuro’s concern for them. Would Sanjuro have risked his life to save the woman in YOJIMBO if she were fat and ugly? Maybe, maybe not. He sure didn’t do anything to save the ugly whores enslaved by Seibei’s wife. And so, SANJURO ends with the hero more unsure of himself than ever. Sometimes, maybe the best way is to just walk away.